BBC MasterChef’s Marcus Wareing visits Leicestershire farm for clucking great advice

One of TV’s most fearsome, but popular chefs has visited a Leicestershire farm for a clucking great masterclass.

Marcus Wareing, who is one of the judges on the BBC’s MasterChef: The Professionals, made the trip to Fosse Meadows Farm, in North Kilworth, for his new TV series ‘Tales from a Kitchen Garden’ which sees the fearsome foodie enter the world of farming for the first time.

His visit to the county came as he needed some serious guidance on a farmyard classic, chickens.

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Starting from scratch in transforming his own kitchen garden, Michelin-starred chef Marcus headed to Fosse Meadows to meet its owners Nick Ball and Jacob Sykes to learn all there was to know about our feathered friends.

He sought the pair’s advice as he needed help in making his garden’s disused chicken coop into something truly special with his own new chickens.

“When I was growing up my brother had chickens, four of them – bantams. Vicious little things,” he said.

“I want [my] chickens to be free-range, to roam around. I want them to have a happy life.

“I don’t want run-of-the-mill chickens on my smallholding. I want the very best.”

It’s why he turned to Nick and Jacob who are described as “experts in chicken rearing”, with the pair helping Marcus understand the do’s and don’ts of the trade.

With Brits eating over one billion chickens every year, the need for a good bit of poultry is paramount – especially as 95 per cent of these chickens are intensively farmed indoors, with Marcus keen for better treatment with his chicks.



Marcus is usually seen in the MasterChef kitchen, not a farm

It’s something the Fosse Meadows team pride themselves on, with their work ensuring a greater end product on people’s plates. This, Nick and Jacob revealed, came down to the age of their birds.

“We believe the flavor comes with age, so we use a French breed called a hubbard,” revealed Nick. “It’s designed to grow slower.”

Nick and Jacob also had a great series of tips for ensuring any chicks had the best possible life in a coop, with it mainly centered on good bedding, but also allowing them a good run-around and dust baths.

Marcus was also taught the best way to hold a chicken to keep them onside, but the chef revealed some reservation with taking on a coop full of new friends.

“I’ve got a funny feeling that in my house, we’re going to get attached to them and I know my daughter will name them which makes it even more complicated,” he said.

The Leicestershire farmers were unimpressed though.

“It’s the cycle of life!” said Jacob.

“I know, but try telling that to a 13-year-old girl,” replied Marcus, but Nick felt the chef was covering up his own feelings here.

“I think you’re blaming your daughter,” he joked.

“I am, it’s me!” acknowledged Marcus.

The new 10-part series, which started last week on BBC Two, also see Marcus learn from some of Britain’s best when it comes to farming favorites such as cows, vegetables and compost.

“I’m trying to show that in my back garden, when I’m cooking, I’m the same as anyone else,” said Marcus of the series.

Marcus Wareing’s Tales from a Kitchen Garden, including his visit to Leicestershire, can be streamed now on the BBC iPlayer.

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