London TV’s top chef Francesco Mazzei has been unveiled as part of the new PGI Welsh Lamb “Lambassador” campaign for 2022.
As part of his job as Ambassador, Francesco recently embarked on a very special visit to Wales, where he witnessed life on a hill farm in Snowdonia and the story of the Welsh lamb that he cooks for his clients in London.
Born and raised in Calabria, Francesco began his culinary career at an early age when he worked at his uncle’s gelateria from the age of nine, and has since worked in restaurants around the world, including Rome, Bangkok and London. A familiar face on television, he has appeared regularly on James Martin Saturday Kitchen, MasterChef, Hell’s Kitchen Italy, SnackMasters, and most recently on CNN with Stanley Tucci.
Since 2015, Francesco has held the position of Patron Chef at D&D Sartoria on Saville Row, Mayfair, with his other London restaurants Radici and Fiume soon to follow. He also published his first cookbook, specializing in Southern Italian cuisine, Mezzogiorno by Francesco Mazzei.
Chefs celebrate Welsh lamb around the world for its versatility and fresh, delicious taste. Raised on grass in its unique natural environment, it is an exceptional product and suitable for all occasions.
Talking about why he chose to serve Welsh lamb in his restaurants, Francesco said: “I am fascinated by the Welsh lamb and its history, so when I had the opportunity to see for myself how Welsh farmers look after their flocks, what the lambs eat and where they spend their day , it made me appreciate it even Suite.
“I love cooking with Welsh lamb for the flavor it brings to every dish and it is particularly tender. It’s fantastic to know that I have this quality product on my doorstep, straight from the Welsh mountains. It’s a great story to tell my customers and my chefs when I’m in my restaurants in London.
As well as the farm tour, Francesco also teamed up with renowned Welsh foodie Chris ‘Flamebaster’ Roberts, the latter receiving a masterclass in Italian cooking with a Welsh twist.
With the delicious natural produce of Wales and the incomparable cuisine of Italy, Francesco brings both qualities together with a series of four delicious Welsh lamb recipes that people can easily cook at home. Showing off its versatility, the series ranges from a summery seared involtini and street food-inspired pulled shoulder, to a warming braised shanks risotto or sausage with polenta and Tuscan cannellini beans.
Speaking of his experience cooking the recipes with Francesco, Chris said: “It was fantastic to see how a very experienced chef like Francesco can really bring out the best flavor and tenderness in Welsh lamb.
“A simple and rustic cuisine but well done and with top quality ingredients. There really is no need to complicate things and it was a pleasure to spend a few days cooking with him. A delicious fusion of Welsh Italian soul food at its finest.
The partnership with Francesco kicks off a series of activities throughout the year Hybu Cig Cymru – Wales Meat Promotion continues to highlight the fantastic work of Welsh farmers and their world-class produce.
In Wales, sheep are predominantly raised on its natural resources, such as grass and rainwater, and 80% of its farmland is unsuitable for growing crops, making livestock the most efficient way to turn marginal land into high quality food. In addition, Welsh hillside grasslands capture carbon from the atmosphere, with farmers managing it through a combination of age-old traditional practices combined with more modern methods.
Rhys Llywelyn, Market Development Manager for Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales, added: “We know from our previous work with Francesco that he is a passionate defender of Welsh lamb and we are delighted to be working with him on this year’s campaign.
“As you can see in the four delicious recipes he has created for us, when high quality ingredients like Welsh lamb and Italian cuisine come together, it truly is a heavenly marriage, and I invite you to visit our website and try its dishes for yourself at home.
You can follow Francesco’s recipes on eatwelshlamb.com.