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Easter Lamb: A Chef’s Perspective on Traditional vs Creative

It’s Easter, so break out the chocolate eggs, gold foil-wrapped rabbits and let’s not forget an excellent old lump of roasted lamb.

Easter has always been a bit of a tough one for creative menu writing, the balance of keeping guests happy while not trotting out the same old dishes year after year, but I guess that’s what tradition means.

Easter itself is a bit of an oxymoron, steeped in tradition, but a signal of rebirth and change. Most food outlets will add roast lamb with mint sauce or redcurrant jelly.

However, being a creative rebel (me being difficult for the sake of it), I would do everything I could not to serve lamb.

British lamb wouldn’t be available quite yet, so we would have to resort to a frozen version from the other side of the world, namely New Zealand. It still drives me crazy that we can get lamb raised so far away for less money than our own. Maybe we will cover that another time!

I would give in, obviously, as its tradition and serve up slices of perfectly pink lamb leg with bone gravy, roasted potatoes and the usual vegetables.

We are all aware that we are in strange times with the state of our domestic food industry and food and energy costs eating away at our margins. The last thing we want is to overbuy and have waste.

I suggest exploring alternative Easter produce instead of relying solely on lamb legs. As lamb legs are in high demand during this season, it can result in a potential price increase. Consider using lamb shoulders or hogget as a substitute, or try something completely different to surprise your guests. Variations on a theme can be a great way to incorporate seasonal produce into your menu.

Speak to larger suppliers and wholesalers. They tend to buy well in advance and get better pricing based on their ability to purchase in volume, don’t assume you’re too small for the big guys to be interested in. In this current climate, business is business.


“Mark has been an industry professional for over two decades, working in outstanding venues in the UK and across Europe, including well known TV chefs and Michelin starred chefs. He has also been on various TV and radio channels over the years and is writing for some of the most popular food publications in the country.
Having been a head chef for many years, Mark has now stepped away from the stove full-time and his expertise is now being passed on through training, consultancy and demonstration cookery, both in person and online.”

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