It even had a leading chef at one of the best restaurants in the world baffled. How did Lake District Farmers make their meat tastier than ever before? The answer – a Calorex dehumidifier.
Some may say it’s the way its cooked, others would suggest it’s the herbs and spices that bring out the flavour, but Lake District Farmers would be adamant that the best meats are the ones that are prepared correctly.
And that’s where Calorex has come on board. The process of dry-ageing meat means Lake District Farmers prepare and produce the finest cuts of meat, that packs a remarkable depth of flavour to their products.
But having a dehumidifier to tackle this process – albeit not unheard of – is a new procedure for the Cumbria-based company and after just a couple of months of being installed, the results are showing an instant success.
So much so that it prompted Brett Graham, Head Chef at London’s trendy Notting Hill establishment, The Ledbury, to get in contact with the staff at Lake District Farmers, urging them to reveal the secrets of their success.
“We received a phone call from Brett just days after we installed our new Calorex dehumidifiers and he was astonished by the difference they had made to the meats we were supplying him,” admitted Dan Austin, Managing Director at Lake District Farmers.
“Brett is one of the world’s top chefs and we have been dealing with him for several years. His restaurant has been voted as one of the best globally so when he phones you and notices the difference, then you know that whatever you’re doing is working.
“We really have seen instant results since we purchased a Calorex dehumidifier and we had no hesitation in expanding that to another chiller. The cuts of meat we produce have to be of the highest quality and our exclusive clientele have certainly seen the difference since the dehumidifiers have been installed.”
The Ledbury is a two Michelin star restaurant and was recently voted the fourteenth best restaurant in the world – and the greatest in the UK.
But Graham is not the only leading chef that has been astounded by the quality a Calorex dehumidifier has played in the quality of the Lake District Farmers meat.
Michel Roux Jr, a two-star Michelin chef, at London restaurant Le Gavroche has been using Lake District Farmers meats for several years and knows the importance of meat preparation.
And with the continued success that Lake District Farmers team possesses in meat preparation, Roux Jr is in no doubt that he will continue to use their service for his restaurant.
“I expect the best from my suppliers in terms and quality and service,” said Roux Jr. “That is why Lake District Farmers meats are served at Le Gavroche.”
Dry-ageing meat is an important process in the food industry with ageing being employed to improve two major meat characteristics – taste and tenderness. Dry-ageing works by exposing meats to a carefully controlled environment with precise temperature and humidity levels.
The conditions necessary for dry-ageing require expensive refrigeration equipment, plus the significant moisture loss. There’s also a theory that the water loss concentrates the flavour too – something that Austin explains.
“At Lake District Farmers we call this the ‘Vimto Effect’. It’s not a scientific term at all – it’s just something that has stuck. The reasons why we call it this is because if you add water to the drink Vimto, it becomes diluted. We are trying to do the opposite of that. We want to take the water and moisture away so the meat doesn’t become too sloppy.”
Austin continued: “The difference the dehumidifiers are making are so noticeable as well. When you walk into one of our chillers you can see the process working with a cloud of moisture being taken out of the meat. It’s great to see.”
It was a move to a new, bigger location, following a fire at their previous premises, which prompted the installation of a Calorex DT 450 into their chillers to help their dry-ageing process.
At smaller premises, the fridges that the team were using was getting the dry-aging job done, but after their move they were then presented with a problem of larger proportions.
“The chillers at our current premises are the size of a football pitch and our two or three times bigger than at our previous location,” Austin added.
“The methods we were using previously were working, but it didn’t take long to realise that with much bigger chillers, we needed something that was going to work effectively and more efficiently.
“There had been talks about using a dehumidifier for the dry-ageing process before, and after we spoke to the sales team at Calorex to get a better understanding of their products we decided it was the way to go.”
Now Lake District Farmers have just received their second dehumidifier – a larger Calorex DT 1300, which enables the company to remotely monitor the fridges status, and now production is going from strength-to-strength.
Austin concluded: “Getting this additional dehumidifier is probably the finishing article for us. We are excited to now have two, fully functional chillers working and producing meats of the finest quality for our clients.
“For us, they are important machines because of what they do and how they help our processes of dry-aging the meat. In actual fact, they have exceeded our expectations in the results they are achieving. We are delighted with the results they are producing for us.”
For more information on Lake District Farmers, visit www.lakedistrictfarmers.co.uk