Kiwi meat in Oliver's kitchen

TERRI RUSSELL
Last updated 05:00 26/07/2013
Jamie Oliver
Reuters
PUKKA: British chef Jamie Oliver’s Italian restaurant in St Petersburg, Russia, will use New Zealand sheepmeat for its dishes.

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New Zealand sheepmeat, including that supplied by Southland farmers, will be on the menu of international culinary star Jamie Oliver's new Italian restaurant in Russia, after leading meat exporter Alliance Group was chosen as its sole supplier of lamb last month.

Jamie's Italian restaurant in St Petersburg will receive regular shipments of Pure South-branded racks, hind shanks, and legs sourced from Alliance Group suppliers from throughout New Zealand, later this year.

Alliance Group marketing general manager Murray Brown said Oliver had an outstanding global reputation and Russia promised significant opportunities for growth.

"Pure South is a well-established export brand and this agreement will help promote New Zealand lamb to a fledgling market.

"While Russia represents only a small market for New Zealand sheepmeat, it does have potential, particularly as the country's demographics change and the economy grows.

"Alliance Group is looking forward to the improving prospects for growth in Russia if New Zealand can gain improved access. Russia is not only the largest country in the world, but it boasts the ninth-largest economy," he said.

Alliance Group was last month approached by Oliver's main food buyer, who was pleased with the quality of Pure South products after seeing them on the market.

Brown said it was hoped the sheepmeat would be introduced to the culinary star's other new Italian restaurants that were opening to help expand his profile internationally.

The economic prospects were very good, with one container of lamb racks alone worth up to $500,000, he said.

The restaurant was expected to open in September or October and Alliance Group representatives would visit it to see how it was going, he said.

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