Head chef Matt Hodkin wanted to make sure of getting the best ingredients for his Lamb Week menu, so he did the shopping himself – at Bakewell agricultural market.
Matt went along with Wig & Pen owners Matt Bigland and Marc Sheldon and looked over the animals available for auction before consulting their buyer and choosing the lambs they wanted.
“We watched him bid for our lot; it was amazing. He was just giving a flick of the eye to show interest – quick, professional and just a normal day’s work for him.”
Matt’s next stop was the abattoir, where the animals were stunned and then slaughtered.
“The whole experience was an eye-opener; really interesting,” he says. “I think, before, I’d been ignorant about the work that goes into our meat. It gave us all a new-found respect for the animals and the process – and helped to reinforce our ethos of nose-to-tail eating.
“It’s now my job to ensure the same amount of care and respect goes into cooking these lambs. I’m looking forward to using this meat.”
Matt is butchering the meat himself and has planned a whole week of special lamb menus, starting tonight and running until next Wednesday, June 20.
In line with the Wig & Pen ethos, every bit of the animal will be used – right down to hock, offal and tongue – and any off-cuts will be minced and used for burgers.
The Lamb Week menu includes starters of liver parfait; sea trout with sweetbreads; and crayfish and kidney crumble.
Highlight of the main courses is a sharing platter of crispy sweetbreads, boned rack, seared fillet, kidneys, mini shepherd’s pie and glazed, slow-cooked tongue.
There’s also ‘steak and chips’, featuring a charred Barnsley chop (cut from the loin) with mint and nettle butter, lambs lettuce and sautéed Jersey royals.
The legs are being saved for Fathers’ Day on Sunday when roast lamb will take the spotlight as roast of the week: “And we’re pairing it with beer instead of wine to fit in with the Fathers’ Day theme!” says Matt.
An experienced chef with more than 12 years’ experience, Matt was senior sous chef at the award-winning Milestone, Kelham Island, before moving to the Wig & Pen when it reopened last year.