Story by Stephen Simms
At the end of January we were very lucky to visit Sillfield Farm in Cumbria to meet Pete Gott and his rare breed livestock. After an early start and a long train journey we arrived at the farm and were greeted by the legendary Mr. Gott. Having enjoyed a delicious lunch prepared by Pete’s wife Christine, we pulled on our wellies and went for an informative tour of the farm. I really enjoyed seeing the boars being fed – they were much friendlier than I expected.
In the afternoon, we learnt how to pluck various different wild game birds (duck, goose and pheasant). Pete explained the differences between commercially produced, intensively reared birds and those raised on his farm.
No rest for the wicked! After cleaning up all the feathers it was time for sausage making. We split into several teams and got stuck in. Once all the sausages were made we cooked them off and Pete judged them according to texture, flavour and appearance. The winning sausage was flavoured with garlic, sage and mixed Italian herbs. For dinner we went to The Highwayman (one of Nigel Haworth’s restaurants) for dinner. We were treated to his signature dish – Lancashire Hot Pot.
Day two was all about meat. We started with butchery and whilst Pete demonstrated the various ways to break down poultry, lamb and of course pork. After lunch we learnt about the curing process and then put our new knowledge into action and made our very own bacon.
I would like to say a huge thank you to Pete for hosting us – it was a fantastic experience all round!
About the author: Stephen is part of the current group of apprentices at Fifteen due to graduate October 2010. This is the 8th group of apprentices at Fifteen London. For more information on Fifteen Foundation
Pete Gott has been supplying wonderful pork produce to Fifteen since the restaurant first opened in 2003. If you are in London you can pay him a visit at the wonderful Borough Market.