‘It’s all about the meat underneath not what looks good in a field’
When Irish farmers hear a Dublin accent critiquing their stock it’s not always welcome, Allan Morris admits, but the man from Drimnagh has been working with meat on plates for 27 years and knows a thing or two about what the world’s top chefs are looking for.
Morris, originally from Drimnagh in Dublin but now living in Roscommon trained and worked as a butcher for years and is part owner of John Stone, a joint venture with Kepak, which supplies Irish beef to high end restaurants worldwide.
“It’s a niche business – we only sell at the top end of the market, mainly to Asia and the Middle East and into to four-star plus chefs that want fat and intermarbelling muscled beef.”
These ‘fat’ cuts come from primarily R4H fat steers or heifers under 30 months, which he says would not be acceptable by the likes of Tesco.
“I select the fat ones, which is a downgrade, and not acceptable for the likes of Tesco and it’s the loin cuts I’m after. I don’t sell top sides, or briskets, just loin cuts – rib eye, striploin, fillet and rump. The rest I have no market for.”
Allan also says he has no particular favourite breed. “Many chefs are brainwashed with Angus, but after 27 years’ experience not all Angus are perfect, or Hereford. The skill is down to the farmer.
“Just because they are Angus or Hereford does not make them great, they may not be finished right.
“My team are looking for 320-380kg, with a fat score of 4 upwards and R grades. People are always surprised I don’t select all Angus or Hereford, but it’s all about the meat underneath not what looks good in a field.”