Fortnum and Mason hosts Welsh Lamb celebration

Leading London chefs and restaurateurs will gather in the exclusive surroundings of Fortnum and Mason on June 9 to celebrate the increasing role that quality PGI Welsh Lamb is playing on the menus of the capital’s foremost eateries.

The event is organised by Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) and its Welsh Lamb Club. The Club includes Michelin-starred chefs among its members, who are all committed to sourcing and serving PGI Welsh Lamb. It is also an opportunity to recognise the contribution of Daphne Tilley from Henllan, Denbighshire, who has received an MBE for services to the food industry, and in particular Welsh Lamb.

Daphne Tilley supplies PGI Welsh Lamb to some of the world’s finest chefs, such as Jamie Oliver, Anthony Demetre, Richard Corrigan, Adam Hilliard, James Adams, Stephen Smith and Francesco Mazzei.

Yet Daphne's Original Welsh Lamb began in a very small way indeed. Daphne’s family’s farms were producing lambs for a retailer, and, while visiting a friend in London she decided to approach a few restaurants. “It just came to me. I thought - why not sell direct? You’ve got to be brave, so I took ten half lambs on ice in polystyrene boxes in the Land Rover.

“Straight away I had eight restaurants that were prepared to take my lamb. They loved it; I kept taking it to them and it’s grown from that. It’s been word of mouth about the quality of the lamb as much as knocking on doors.”

There is no doubt Daphne aimed for the stars in setting up her enterprise. “In those early days, one of the restaurants that was very helpful was Jamie Oliver’s. He had just done the Naked Chef stuff; he was such a nice man, he really helped me.”

Sue Franklin, HCC’s UK Market Development Executive said: “HCC is delighted to support this industry-wide event, held at such a prestigious location, and to recognise the work Daphne Tilley and her customers have done to promote PGI Welsh Lamb.

“Our warmest congratulations go out to Daphne; she is passionate about farming and about her high quality product and has been a brilliant ambassador for the whole industry.”