Food + Drink

Kent butcher leads search to find the world’s best steak

Kent master butcher Alan Franck has been appointed chair of judges of the annual World Steak Challenge which takes place in London this summer.

After three years as an expert judge Alan, who is head of production and manufacturing for Ian Chatfield Butchers of Tonbridge, Kent, has agreed to chair the tightly-fought competition.

South African born Alan has more than 25 years in the meat trade with experience of the South African, Portuguese and British markets. He will be joined by a group of meat scientists, butchers, chefs and producers who will blind taste test and rate more than 100 steaks from more than 20 different countries on Wednesday, July 4.

The expert judges will examine sirloin, fillet and rib eye cuts in their raw state before the steaks are cooked to a level of medium and to a core temperature of between 50-55 degrees Celsius before being allowed to rest for five minutes and then sampled.

Those steaks that achieve the highest Gold medal scores at this stage of the competition will then go through to a second stage of consumer judging, which Alan will also chair, to find the ultimate champion.

So, what will this year’s judges be looking for?

“A winning steak must have good marbling, it must be juicy, it has got to have flavour and it has to be tender. Those are the four values we will be judging on,” said Alan.

“I remember one particular a steak last year; the moment I tasted it, I asked the video crew to film it and take a photo of its number.”

Alan’s choice was 100 percent spot on.  Once the scores were counted, that steak turned out to be last year’s winning Polish bred sirloin.

The World Steak Challenge is run by Global Meat News, an industry title which is published by William Reed Business Media.

Deputy Editor Aidan Fortune said: “In previous years a family owned cattle ranch in New South Wales, Australia and a Polish steak producer have secured the Champion’s title. But English, Scottish and Irish farmers and producers always figure strongly among the Silver and Gold medal winners.

“And with consumer research showing that people increasingly want to know where their meat comes from, competitions like ours help allow producers and retailers promote their produce more widely, with an industry stamp of approval which helps consumers make the best choice.”

The winners of the World Steak Challenge will be announced at an international industry event at The Magic Roundabout in Old Street, London on July 4.

In the run up to the event, Alan is launching a new catering venture, Franck & Co, which draws on his South African roots and Portuguese influences.  His food venture will open with barbecues at The Chequers Inn, Tonbridge, and in other London and Kent venues.

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