Peter Gordon ONZM has been an ambassador chef for New Zealand lamb in the UK market since 1998. He credits the success of the 17 year partnership to the product itself.
“I fully and wholeheartedly believe in the product. I am not just doing this to earn a fee. I do it because I believe in New Zealand lamb. Without integrity, campaigns fall flat. I can easily demonstrate to the public the genuine enthusiasm I have in cooking it and showing others how to do so.
“As a chef, the quality of the produce I cook with is paramount. The consistency of New Zealand lamb is outstanding and second to none.”
Peter’s love of lamb started early.
“As a child, I never tired of roast lamb, which was one of our more regular meals at home in Whanganui. I always loved the taste around the bone of leg of lamb – the lovely caramel taste – and cold lamb sandwiches with mint sauce was a great school lunchbox treat.
“When I moved to London, I was thrilled to bits that it was also a fairly regular part of the British diet. I recall vividly once going to Harrods Food Hall to buy ‘the best lamb they had’, as instructed by my employer. The butcher looked at me and, with a smile, said that of course the best lamb was from New Zealand. How chuffed was I?!”
The UK is New Zealand’s most valuable export lamb market – worth about $500m annually – reflecting both the high volume and value of the cuts which find their way to UK tables.
Beef + Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) and Peter recently partnered with The Times newspaper to run an eight-week food series of film clips featuring lamb recipes. The partnership opened up a direct channel to an ideal target audience for New Zealand lamb. The Times, The Sunday Times and associated online forums have a combined weekly reach of 1.5 million people.
Reflecting how different marketing campaigns are, compared to Peter’s early days as ambassador chef, he predicts The Times clips will be as impactful as TV commercials he filmed back in 1997.
Craig Finch is B+LNZ’s regional manager for market development in the UK and Europe. He says Peter’s mana in the UK is significant.
“He is highly respected within his industry and amongst his peers for his craft but also as a man who does a lot of work for charities. He has cooked for HM the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, as well as Prince Charles and Princess Anne. Peter has also catered an event at 10 Downing Street, in the presence of Prime Minister David Cameron, for a charity he supports. Prime Minister John Key and German Chancellor Angela Merkel chose Peter’s Auckland restaurant, The Sugar Club, for a working lunch in November 2014.
“He is an exceptional chef and ambassador that the New Zealand lamb brand is very proud to be associated with.”
These days, Peter works between his restaurants in London and Auckland and recently entered living rooms across New Zealand, fronting Native Kitchen – a TV3 series where Peter, who is of Ngāti Kahungunu and Ngāi Tahu descent, mentors a group of aspiring, young Māori chefs through a 10-day culinary boot camp. This follows on from Peter’s previous TV3 show, Fusion Feasts, where he travelled to eight marae around New Zealand, cooking for and learning from the locals.
In 2009, Peter was awarded an ONZM for services to the food industry. His leukaemia fundraising events – Who’s Cooking Dinner? in London and SKYCITY Dining for a Difference in Auckland – have together raised nearly $12m.
The UK website, loveourlamb.co.uk, is home to Peter’s association with the New Zealand lamb brand. The site has more than 80 recipes on it and includes many short videos on how to cook particular dishes. It also has information on lamb cuts and even beer and wine matching pointers.
Supplied by B+LNZ Ltd.