Sunday 25 September 2016

'It's a very rich flavour, almost nutty, and the fat turns buttery'

Published 10/06/2015 | 02:30

Jonathan Cahill, butchery manager with the La Rousse company which supplies dexter meat to clients here and abroad
Jonathan Cahill, butchery manager with the La Rousse company which supplies dexter meat to clients here and abroad

From humble beginnings with venison hanging over the bath in his Dublin bedsit, French chef Marc Amand has built up a food service business that turns over €37m a year.

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Amand worked in Ireland's top Michelin star restaurant, Patrick Guilbaud, until the early 1990s, where he also met his future wife, Mary Massy.

Amand found that he was spending more and more of his weekends travelling to France to load up his car with fine French ingredients that he was sourcing for his chef friends back in Dublin.

In 1992, Amand and his wife decided to leave Guilbaud's to start a company specialising in importing fine foods for the restaurant sector.

However, from a point where over 80pc of their produce was sourced from the Continent, La Rousse's butchery manager, Jonathon Cahill, claims that over 60pc is now sourced locally here in Ireland.

This emphasis on local produce (the company have even developed their own food standards called Feirme Nádúrtha, which emphasises the importance of local abattoirs) also explains the huge interest that they have taken in the Dexter meat that Eavaun Carmody produces.

"The story behind the food that people put in their mouths is becoming more and more important," said Cahill.

"It's not enough to know where the meat has come from anymore. People want to know about the people behind it, its history, how the animal was raised and slaughtered and so on."

Taste profile

However, the distinctive taste profile of the Dexter meat and its fat was also a big attraction for La Rousse.

"It's a very rich flavour, almost nutty, and the fat turns buttery. I'm also of the opinion that the fact that they are pedigree is an advantage. I think that meat from pedigree animals tends to be more tender. It's part of the reason why Dexter has gone massive in Britain," said Cahill.

There's no doubt that La Rousse have the finger on the pulse, with year-on-year growth in sales of 17pc, and close to 100 now employed in the burgeoning business.

So if the prominence that the company has given Killenure Dexter in their latest catalogue is anything to go by, the sky's the limit for the likes of Eavaun Carmody.

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