Would you serve mutton in your restaurant?

22 November 2004
Would you serve mutton in your restaurant?

We asked three leading chefs if they would serve mutton in their restaurants. Here's what they said:
I love it. In New Zealand we eat a lot of hogget and mutton because of the taste. Over here, we put it on in the Tapa Room menu and people don't order it. They say they want tasty, slow-cooked food, but they order milk-fed lamb, which leaves me cold. But it's restaurant perception: I bet they could sell loads of it at St John. But here's to more mutton!
Peter Gordon, chef and co-proprietor, the Providores, Marylebone, London
I'm waiting on a delivery from Ben Weatherall, which I think will be hogget, although for most English breeders the lines are blurred between what is hogget and what is mutton. We have always tried to use secondary cuts of meat and different fish and to make them into something more fine-dining. It's a challenge for both the kitchen and the diner.
Chris Staines, head chef, Le Foliage, Mandarin Oriental hotel, London
I think a lot of people would not like the flavour, because it is quite strong and definitely an acquired taste. Also, it needs a long time cooking and is therefore probably only suited to winter. The answer is no, not yet.
Tom Aikens, chef-proprietor, Tom Aikens, Chelsea, London

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