I’m an advocate of using the whole animal, the least desirable parts of a beast like the offal, blood and trotters are very often the tastiest and when treated correctly the most tender too.
At The Torridon we’re very lucky to keep our own cows and pigs and also through suppliers have access to many other types of animals. Indeed Daniel the owner in the late months of the year will often turn up clutching a handful of rabbits or a shoulder laden with many a brace of pheasents for us to skin, pluck, remove guts and heads to get to the meat.
When you keep your own animals it really does give you a genuine feeling of connection to the animal when it is in your kitchen awaiting to be butchered. We have a duty to fufil its potential and not be filling the bins with bits we can’t be bothered to use.
It’s a creative process to reveal cuts of meat and muscles that you may have lost to the deepest parts of your mind amongst the recipes, ideas and that ‘things to do list’ that is gently simmering away like a pot of lamb necks in your psyche.
The irony though is such, the best parts, these nose to tail bits and pieces on an animal are few and far between. Take for example a roasted sirloin of beef, you and 20 of your nearest and dearest could happily feast away on that for hours. Give me a beef cheek over sirloin any day, sadly there are only 2 cheeks on an animal so that’s slim pickings compared to the 2 sirloins each cow carries.
There you will find the juxtaposition, the 2 sirloins from 1 cow can feed 40 people (at least) from that same cow only 2 lucky individuals will be able to be enjoy the cheeks. So for a restaurant to serve cheek instead of sirloin it would need the cheeks of 20 cows to feed the same amount of people, nose to tail cookery means we are using as much as possible from the animal that gave us its life, but it also means you have 20 times more of those lives in the fridge.
Ross Stovold, Head Chef at The Torridon