The push to get goat meat into more Aussie restaurants

The push to get goat meat into more Aussie restaurants

Australia is the largest exporter of goats in the world, but the meat and livestock industry also wants to see the protein find a place on more domestic restaurant menus.

While goat is a popular lean red meat source in several international destinations, Australians have been slow on the uptake when it comes to adding it into their diets.

About 90 per cent of production is shipped overseas, leaving little for domestic consumption.

Lee Cecchin, chef-owner of The Old Salt Bush restaurant in Broken Hill, NSW, enjoys cooking with goat meat and believed it was an under-utilised red meat source.

“I love cooking with goat meat … we cook it at home, it’s just delicious,” she said.

“I think it’s really important to use what you have in your own backyard at the end of the day.”

While wild and managed goats are in abundance across Australia, accessibility to quality, locally processed meat is limited.

Ms Cecchin said that was one of the main barriers stopping her from adding it to the regular menu.

The Mannion family have made a living off mustering feral goats.(Landline: Tony Hill)

“By the time you find a supplier and the transport, the price point then becomes a bit too expensive,” she said.

Ms Cecchin takes pride in utilising several locally sourced products that she incorporates in the restaurant’s menu, and goat is something she would like to include more often. 

“We like to support our community here in Broken Hill,” she said.

Lee Cecchin utilises a number of locally sourced ingredients to cook with.(Supplied: The Old Saltbush Restaurant)

Role for ‘high-profile’ chefs

In a bid to increase the consumption of the lean red meat domestically, Meat and Livestock Australia is driving marketing campaigns, such as the Goat TRACK initiative, to get “goat on the radar” and for the general public to see it in venues more frequently. 

Domestic market manager at Meat and Livestock Australia Graeme Yardy said while it was a small market and it was “quite hard to reach consumers”, there was a lot of potential for growth in the industry.

“I think there’s absolutely going to be scope for more work in this space,” he said.

By encouraging more popular restaurateurs to add it to their menus, Mr Yardy said the influence of those chefs would hopefully entice others to do the same.

“We see that as the best way to bring goat a bit more into the forefront,” he said.

“Those places that are already putting goat on the menu, let’s try and highlight that a bit and show it to other venues.”

Goat meat is a niche protein in Australia.(ABC: Cam Lang)

As for public hesitancy about trying goat, Mr Yardy said Australians were not used to seeing it around and therefore it was not something they thought to try.

“Most people have not grown up with goat here, they do not think of it as a protein that they would likely consume,” he said.

Chef Lee Cecchin also believed it was a matter of getting more influential industry people to promote the product.

“Get a few more high-profile chefs promoting it, I think you’d have a better cause to actually get it on the menus,” Ms Cecchin said.

“We love to experiment, chefs are a fickle bunch.

“We’re always wanting to push the envelope and do something that no one else is doing at that time.”

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