Chef Jamie Oliver was slammed by farmers today over claims he is snubbing his ‘buy local’ campaign and sourcing produce from hundreds of miles away.
Oliver, 37, vowed to champion Cornish food when he opened his Fifteen restaurant in Newquay in 2006.
The website of the restaurant says it vows to source “locally produced ingredients from Cornwall”.
But cattle farmers are furious after discovering his chefs buy their steaks from a supplier in Toddington, Gloucestershire – more than 200 miles away.
Bosses at Fifteen insist on using Longhorn beef for their succulent #27 sirloins and say they can’t find a Cornish breeder to supply the prized meat.
But the move has prompted anger in Newquay where farmers and suppliers insist a native south Devon cow farmed in Newquay provides similarly juicy steaks.
Peter Cowling, who grazes his 110-strong herd on fields directly above Fifteen, said: “When there’s a quality product right on the cliffs above your restaurant, why go miles away to source it?
“I’d happily give them a quote and if they want to check the quality I can walk the cattle to the restaurant door.
“Clearly the powers-that-be have decided Longhorn beef is the best but I would disagree. South Devon is the local breed down here and you’d like to think they’d source their beef more locally.”
Award-winning cattle farmer Roger Rundle, of Kestle Mill Farm, near Newquay, added: “South Devon is on a par with, if not better, than anything else out there.
“Customers who come to Cornwall expect a Cornish product. Imagine not being served Cornish clotted cream in Cornwall. It’s the same in principle.”
Fifteen says on its website: “At the heart of our food ethos is mindfully sourced and locally produced ingredients from Cornwall and the South West.”
The restaurant is owned by local charity Cornwall Foundation of Promise, which provides chef training for disadvantaged young people.
Head chef, Andy Appleton, said the business sells 300 steaks each week and needed a “specific taste and quality”.
He said: “After a lot of careful research we chose the Longhorn, identified again and again by critics as one of the very best varieties for steak.
“This rare breed has a distinctive flavour and silky texture due to the unique marbling of its meat.
“Fifteen Cornwall’s policy is to source as much food as possible within Cornwall and we did look for a Cornish supplier of Longhorn beef.
“While there are a few notable Longhorn herds in Cornwall, at present no one here is able to provide us with the quantity of Longhorn steaks we need.
“We continue to source most of our other meat, including beef short rib, from our established and excellent Cornish suppliers.”