Chef Sarah Master: On Shepherd Song Farm Lamb Meat

Lamb bacon, lamb tartare, and lamb stew made to order at Porter & Frye. Photo: Shepherd Song Farm

This post is sponsored by Shepherd Song Farm.

“It’s really, really, really good lamb.”
— Chef Sarah Master (on Shepherd Song Farm lamb meat)

When scheduling an interview with Sarah Master of the Hotel Ivy’s Porter & Frye, I asked her sous chef, Liz, whether I’ d be able to photograph a dish or two that are representative of their use of Shepherd Song Farm lamb. When we entered the kitchen I was welcomed by a 3-course lamb-lover’s dream in the midst of preparation.

The Lamb Stew (always made fresh to order), Lamb Tartare, and Seared Lamb Loin with Rosemary Potato Gratin and Grilled Asparagus were dazzling testimony to the artistry and unbridled enthusiasm Sarah and her staff bring to their menus — restaurant, bar, and room service.

Porter & Frye chef Sarah Master. Photo: Shepherd Song Farm

Our entire interview appears on the Shepherd Song Farm website. Click the link (at the end of the article) to enjoy Sarah’s “lamb-lover’s travelogue” — from her lamb-less childhood on the Iron Range, to how a date in New Orleans led to her love of lamb, to, most recently, how her spirited work as a chef in the Twin Cities brings together local and sustainable ingredients for — what else? Flavor, flavor, flavor.

John Seymour-Anderson: So Sarah, what is your first memory of eating lamb?

Sarah Master: Oh boy, um, I didn’t really get into food or cooking a whole lot until I moved to New Orleans — just kind of on a whim.

JSA: When was that?

SM: That was in 2001. It was right after I graduated from college. I grew up in Minnesota. So, I met a guy down there who loves to eat… who, eventually… I got married to him. But he took me out to a place called Jacques-Imo’ s and he ordered a lamb shank — a “beggar’s purse” — it was stuffed with oysters. I’d never had lamb before, you know. I grew up on the Iron Range, so I grew up eating tater-tot hotdish and goulash and things like that. So he let me taste it and it was amazing. I’d never tasted anything like it. So that was the first time.

JSA: Are there ways that you can use lamb that are unique compared to other meats?

SM: Yeah, I mean, I think it pairs well with things that don’ t often pair well with other things. You know. Lamb and artichokes, for example. Artichokes don’ t pair well with a lot of food. They’re kind of bitter.

Seared lamb chop with rosemary potato gratin and grilled asparagus at Porter & Frye, from start to finish. Photo: Shepherd Song Farm

JSA: What do you think the 100% grass-fed approach that Shepherd Song Farm takes contributes to what you’ re seeking and finding in their meat?

SM: I just, I like the way that they handle the animals doing it in the most sustainable way. And I do think that, you know, the grass fed is — that’s what they’ re supposed to be eating. So I definitely agree with that, and I think it’s so clear what it does to the flavor of the animals. So, I’m, I’m really glad that they’re doing it the way they’re doing it because it’s delicious.

For more of our wide-ranging, candid, and appetizing conversation, read the whole interview.