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Top quality flesh, smouldering fire and chefs who know nose to tail – that’s Meatopia.

There’s no mystery ingredient at Meatopia, a festival that wears its rump, sirloin, brisket, cheek, leg, head, heart and mouth-wateringly more on its sleeve – this event on September 7 is as close as you’ll come to meat nirvana, as 25 top chefs cook one fleshtastic dish each over fire and coals.

The ‘Meaterati’ will debate the virtues of meat (with arguments for the affirmative and the affirmative, we presume), against a background of live music and all-round meaty merriment. To find out what we can expect and to get an insight into the juicy world of committed carnivorousness, we caught up with four chefs who’ll be on the coals next week.

Richard H. Turner

Chef and restaurateur who got his chops with kitchen royalty such as Albert and Michel Roux Jr and Marco Pierre White, now of Hawksmoor, Pitt Cue Co and Turner & George acclaim.Meatopia dish: Anch & Deckle – charcoal grilled Deckle steak with anchovy chilli butter.

Favourite cheap cut of meat? Pig’s head. 

What would you do with it for your last meal? Braised with spices, maybe in a macaronade.The best way to sex up a steak? Charcoal.

Turn a steak once or lots on the barbecue? Lots.

Secret to a great barbie that anyone could do? Season well, keep heat to medium hot.

What’s your happiest meat memory? My mother’s lamb belly.

Can you explain vegetarianism? Without vegetarians there would be nothing for carnivores to eat.

What’s a meat dish you love that´s a bit of a hard sell for others? Pigs snoots (snouts).

Your favourite drink with meat? Ice cold Meantime London Lager with a Pappy Van Winkle 15 (bourbon) back.

You don’t make friends with salad, but what’s your fave meat side? Salt.

Tim Byres

Old West-inspired chef with his background in Pan-Asian and modern Texan cuisines. Released the book Smoke, the same name as his restaurant in Dallas, Texas.

Meatopia dish: Whole hog on a brick pit barbecue and tacos.

Favourite cheap cut of meat? Ox tail.

What would you do with it for your last meal? It’s better to ask, who would it be with? It’s not about the food but the community that results from it. I’d smoke the ox tails, then braise in red wine and onions. Serve with horseradish, sour cream, grilled toast and a beer.

What’s the best way to sex up a steak? Simple is sexy. I like to contrast charred, smoky, meaty flavours with the acidity of lime, garlic and fresh herbs like chimichurri. Eat with your fingers!

Turn a steak once or lots on the barbecue? Turn once. I like to grill with a live fire, not just with charcoal.

Secret to a great barbie that anyone could do? Be committed and practice! Cooking with fire requires patience and leaving it alone. Don’t mess with it once its cooking and let the fire do its thing. Trust yourself and cook with the flavours and ingredients you like that are locally available to you.

What’s your happiest meat memory? The most current one is Valentine’s Day 2013. My wife surprised me and the family with Big Night (acclaimed film about an Italian restaurant) and cooked the Timpano (delicacy from the movie) – it’s a meaty, sausage, cheese masterpiece. She completely pulled it off!

Can you explain vegetarianism? It’s unnecessarily plain and uncreative most of the time. They should treat an eggplant or mushroom like it’s meat. Grilled broccoli with hummus, roasted and ground cauliflower, yellow squash carpaccio…

What’s a meat dish you love that’s a bit of a hard sell for others? Brick roux gumbo with boudin and andouille sausage and buttery crusty bread.

Your favourite drink with meat? A pale ale like Real Ale Rio Blanco Pale Ale or Shiner Bock Blonde.

You don’t make friends with salad, but what’s your fave meat side? Pickles, raw herb salads, high acidity side again to cut the abrasive flavours of smoked meats, vegetable dishes and blue cheese coleslaw. 


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Unbeatable meat: Meet the top chefs behind London food festival Meatopia
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