lamb

Canadian chefs look down under for sustainable lamb

If you’re looking for a way to incorporate the delicious and versatile taste of high-quality lamb into your menu, there’s no better choice than Australian lamb. Australian lamb sold in Canada and the U.S. is climate-neutral, pasture-raised, all-natural, and free of artificial additives.

An unwavering commitment to quality and integrity, combined with the rich unspoiled environment in which the lamb is raised, makes Australian lamb a special product. It’s the Aussie way, coded into the DNA of the country’s ranchers and farmers, and carried all the way from paddock to plate.

Grassy, mild, tender, and lean, Australian lamb brings unmatched quality and taste and a sustainable ethos to your menu.

Tasting integrity down on the farm

Australian Lamb recently held an event devoted to demonstrating these qualities and principles for a variety of chefs at the Culinary Vegetable Institute and The Chef’s Garden in Milan, Ohio.

Over two days, chefs including Canadian culinarians Matt Rosen, Kim Sutherland, and Marc Swiednicki spent time on the farm learning about the story of Australian lamb and its value-add for menus and got to experience its quality firsthand.

“In my Canadian network, a lot of people know about the farm, even if they haven’t had much opportunity to visit there,” says Sutherland. “It was the perfect intimate and interactive event for us to collaborate and flourish. Not only did the event educate us on Australian lamb, but what it did for us as a group of chefs was, I truly believe one of the greatest gifts any of us could have had. It’s so inspiring to be in a room amongst like-minded people who speak that same language of food and innovation and sustainable thinking.”

Chef Kim Sutherland

The event placed a focus on educating the visiting chefs on the integrity and quality of Australian lamb – in essence, what makes the product so special and so worthy of both chefs’ and diners’ attention.

“That was the biggest piece that sold me: the conversation around the integrity of Australian lamb,” adds Sutherland. “Australian lamb is so clean. I am also a mindful-eating practitioner, and you really can tell the difference in the energy of the food and how it was raised, slaughtered, processed, the whole nine yards. It’s a very high-integrity product and the event, the farm, and True Aussie Lamb really opened a lot of our eyes to what might be a better practice and a more integrity-based way of doing things.”

Chef Matt Rosen hailed the farm and Australian lamb hosts for demonstrating in compelling fashion the qualities of Australian lamb and how they fit into the sustainability picture.

“It sounds so cliché, but you can almost taste the love and the passion within the food that they are producing,” Rosen says. “You see the humanity behind the whole thing and how the animals are treated, and it really makes it an easily digestible thing for you as a chef to bite into. The sustainability piece and that like-minded approach from beginning to end is huge. It’s the whole package, and if we can get that message out of the sustainability and humanity behind Australian lamb, it can enrich menus.”

Like Rosen, who says he was “almost vibrating with ideas and inspiration for weeks” after leaving the farm, Chef Swiednicki found the experience not only educational but invigorating.

“I walked away with the biggest inspiration and weeks later, I’m still glowing,” Swiednicki says. “I use what I learned every day for inspiration. The uses of these great products are endless – not just in the dishes that are on your menu, but in your whole way of thinking about the food. I just don’t look at lamb the same way I used to.”

lamb

Redefining local and not compromising on product

For chefs and consumers alike, “eat local” has become a mantra in recent years. While supporting local businesses and producers is certainly important, there are a few myths that need dispelling.

For example, independent research has shown that the food miles that carry lamb from Australia to North America account for only a small percentage – less than five per cent – of greenhouse gas emissions, water, and energy use. The Life Cycle Assessment data on Australian lamb headed to North America found that food miles were not an accurate indicator of environmental impact. Turns out how the lamb is raised is more important than where.

As Rosen notes, there is a danger that “eat local” can become a trendy catchphrase rather than being thought of in a truly holistic way. It’s worth reassessing what that means.

“Local is great, providing the product is at the quality you want it to be – beyond that, it’s just a catchphrase,” Rosen says. “Being able to use something that might not be local to you but is at the highest quality and aligns with your values is an easy way to upgrade the quality of your offerings. For example, you go to Europe, and they are using PEI or Nova Scotia lobster or mussels. Similarly, I now use Australian lamb.”

Sutherland adds that at the recent event, she cooked and ate “what I really believe was the cleanest and most beautiful lamb product” she could hope to find. “We need to rethink what local and sustainable that means, because there might be someone across an ocean who is doing it better,” she says. “In this case, there is.”

To learn more about Australian lamb or be connected to marketing support for Australian lamb on your menu, contact: mlainquiries@summitmg.com or visit foodservice.trueaussiebeefandlamb.com.

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