By Kevin Dalgleish, executive chef
Over the past 20 years, our high streets have changed dramatically. Gone are
countless small, independent shops that made our town centres so vibrant, many
forced to bring down the shutters as customers turned to the convenience of
large supermarkets and out of town retails parks.
While I miss the variety these shops brought to the high street, I think the greatest loss
is the knowledge that staff had to share with customers. As a chef, the relationship I
have with my suppliers is vital: I rely on them to help me source only the best
local produce and high quality raw ingredients.
When was the last time that you visited your local butcher and discussed what was
on your menu for Sunday lunch? You would be surprised at what you could learn in just
a few minutes of talking to them and asking for their advice.
Sunday lunch is hugely popular at The Chester – and much of that success is down to
our butchers, Campbells Prime Meats and Grace Noble Banchory Highland Cattle.
Roast beef accounts for around 80% of the dishes that leave the kitchen during a
Sunday lunch service. That’s because we have an excellent relationship with our
butchers and they understand the importance of the raw ingredient in the end product.
If you have been in the habit of picking up the first cut of beef that comes to hand in
the supermarket chiller, why not see for yourself the difference your local butcher
The first thing they can advise you on is the cut. Here at The Chester, we use two
different cuts of beef – ribeye or sirloin. Our sirloin generally comes from a herd
of Highland cattle in Banchory. We prefer to use these because the carcase is
small, meaning it takes longer to mature.
Your butcher will tell you that fat on a bit of beef is nothing to worry about and, in fact, it’s something that you actually want. You want to look for marbling in ribeye and a good layer of fat on sirloin: both of these will help to roast the beef and really add to the flavour. Most good quality butchers will have beef that is aged for a minimum of 28 days, and that’s what we serve here at The Chester.
A lot of people also get confused about how long they should cook the beef. Most people tend to err on the side of caution and end up overcooking it so that the beef becomes dry and tough. Your butcher will know by the size of the joint how long you should cook it for and at what temperature.
Your butcher also will also understand the importance of tying the joint up nice and tight so that it keeps its shape while being roasted, allowing you to slice and serve it up perfectly.
There is no doubt about it that Sunday lunch is a lot of hard work. At the end of a long week, very few people want to spend hours in the kitchen on their day off. But cooking a roast can be a very rewarding experience and it’s one that, as a chef, I enjoy the most.
So why not pay us a visit on Sunday and see for yourself the love and passion that goes into creating the perfect roast?