Nose-to-Tail Fortnight 2012
From 30 April to 14 May 2012, Ethical Eats asked restaurants to explore nose-to-tail meat use, by putting a special (or specials) on their menu featuring offal or another unloved cut.
We provided posters to advertise involvement to customers, and worked with the press to let London know what was happening. We published a map of participating restaurants, and featured them on the Ethical Eats website and encouraged restaurants to send us snaps of the dishes for us to tweet.
Nose-to-Tail fortnight was part of our campaign to encourage more thoughtful, less wasteful meat use by the capital's restaurants. During the preceeding months we looked into chefs knowledge of the meat industry, their connections with the markets and suppliers, and their knowledge of the quality and provenance of the meat they prepare and serve. We explored concerns about the environmental impact of animal farming and the international meat industry, and conducted research into consumer attitudes towards offal, spoke to butchers and suppliers about their trade, and to high-volume and niche establishments about the issues they face when it comes to sourcing and preparing the meat we eat.
Restaurants (and other eateries) that took part:
The Table; Blanch and Shock; Dock Kitchen; The Russet; Café Spice Namaste; Leong's Legend; Eton College; Island Grill - The Lancaster Hotel; Manson; Nopi; The Cinnamon Club; The Peoples Supermarket; Crispins Wine Bar; The Alma; Tongue n' Cheek; Corrigans Mayfair; The Duke of Cambridge; The Anthologist; The Drift; Square Restaurant; Kitchen W8; Moshi Moshi; The Charles Lamb; The Victoria; Tempo Restaurant; Benares; Greenwich University; Bite; Café Caldesi; Farm Direct; the kitchen at The People's Supermarket.
In preparation for Nose-to-Tail Fortnight 2012, Ethical Eats brought chefs from all over the city together with butchers, culinary experts, and local caterers, to learn about animal welfare, the energy issues associated with livestock farming, to explore whole animal butchery, and try some cooking with lesser-used cuts.
The workshop took place at Central Street Cookery School, Islington. Alan Stewart of Manson Restaurant, and butcher Nathan Mills, of The Butchery, demonstrated their skills breaking down the Gloucester Old-Spot, provided by Billfields of London, before helping the participating chefs have a try.
Buying a whole carcass, means you are able to “offer value to the customer”, said Stewart. “It becomes cheaper and more interesting for them. And it makes financial sense – I can’t imagine doing it any other way,” he said. “Ordering a leg on its own is expensive – but when you order the whole animal, that leg becomes relatively cheap.” Echoing this notion, Mills added, “making money from the ‘body balance’ – those parts that aren’t normally included in your order – and building that relationship with your butcher can be rewarding for you both.” To chefs weighing the benefits of ordering a whole animal, Stewart suggests incorporating some dishes with different cuts into the weekly ordering plan. The savings accrued when ordering the whole animal, including those less popular cuts can then be passed on to the customer.
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