Wednesday, 25 November 2015

French embassy hosts QSM beef and lamb at restaurant guide launch

You could be forgiven for thinking that the food of choice for international ambassadors is a certain gold-wrapped chocolate treat, but at the French embassy in London this week it was Quality Standard Mark (QSM) beef and lamb that was spoiling distinguished guests.

The event in question was the launch of the Lebey Guide, a new book which lists the top 100 bistros in Paris and the top 100 gastro pubs in London, which took place in the ornate setting of the French embassy in London’s Kensington Gardens. AHDB Beef & Lamb was present to showcase home-grown produce and encourage guests, made up of chefs, restaurateurs, dignitaries and food journalists, to appreciate the virtues of using QSM beef and lamb.

The publication is the first time that a guide lists the best bistros in Paris and London and is printed in both French and English and, importantly, it focuses on meat. Aimed at foodies that reside in the two cities, the Lebey Guide presents a prize opportunity to inform the readership about the factors that make high quality beef and lamb reared on home soil such a premium product.

Of course many French people already enjoy our meat, given that one in five lambs produced in the UK is exported across the channel. But, by being featured in the Lebey Guide, the produce is being placed alongside some of the two countries’ finest dining establishments and chefs, reaffirming its premium reputation.

At the launch on Monday, AHDB’s foodservice project manager, Hugh Judd, prepared and carved cannons of beef sirloin and cannons of lamb for guests to sample. The meat disappeared almost as fast as it was presented, with many chefs and restaurateurs from both sides of the Channel keen to find out more about its provenance. 

Some of those in attendance were familiar with the work of AHDB Beef & Lamb, such as Pierre-Yves Chupin, director of the Lebey Guide who took part in one of our recent Rosbifs visits to the north of England, as mentioned in last week’s blog.
Pierre-Yves Chupin (second left) and Hugh Judd (right) present the winners of the best Paris and London bistros.
The event was opened by French Ambassador Sylvie Bermann, who praised the mutual appreciation of fine dining in both London and Paris and the quality of foodservice from all of the establishments included in the guide.

There was also recognition of the way in which the two nations had stood side-by-side in the face of the recent atrocities in Paris. Ambassador Bermann highlighted the defiant spirit shown by Parisian diners who were using the hashtag #JeSuisEnTerrasse – which translates as ‘I’m sitting outside’.
Ambassador Sylvie Bermann
The establishments shortlisted in the Lebey Guide were all reviewed incognito by a panel of critics who visited unannounced and paid for their own meal to ensure the process was objective. The consensus was that many hidden culinary gems were uncovered, and the hope is that many of them who don’t already offer QSM beef and lamb will put it on their menu going forwards.

Hopefully, those of you dining out in London or Paris in the future will find yourself tucking into homegrown beef or lamb prepared by some of the best chefs in the two cities as a result of the Lebey Guide. C'est magnifique!

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