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  • Writer's pictureSharon Wilson

L’escargot bleu is first restaurant to be certified by Pasture for Life

L’escargot bleu restaurant and wine bar in Edinburgh is the first restaurant in the UK

to be certified by Pasture for Life who support and promote producers of 100% pasture-fed beef, lamb and dairy.

Since opening on Broughton Street in 2009, the French restaurant has pioneered sourcing and sustainability while challenging the industry to put provenance and health before profit.

Chef patron Fred Berkmiller said:

“By choosing meat raised purely on pasture, we know it’s of a much higher quality, it’s healthier than grain-fed meat and it tastes better. Pasture for Life farms not only treat animals well, but they also put goodness back into soils rather than depleting them, encouraging more wildlife. We can also trace the provenance of every single piece of meat.”

Founded in 2011, Pasture for Life champions the restorative power of grazing animals on pasture, and the positive impacts this brings for biodiversity, carbon capture, health and animal welfare. They work to restore ecosystems, implement positive change in food and farming systems, and to demonstrate the benefits of 100% pasture-fed meat. Today marks Pasture for Life’s 11th birthday and the launch of new branding that communicates the diversity of the people they represent, from farmers and makers, to students and storytellers.

Pasture for Life Executive Director, Jimmy Woodrow, commented:

“The Pasture for Life story is one of community and ours has, unsurprisingly, come of age in the past couple of years. Our farmers wouldn't be able to do what they do without supportive butchers, chefs and retailers and, ultimately, members of the public. Chefs, in particular, have captured the public imagination in recent years and have a key role to play in communicating the story of farming to the public. We're delighted to have Fred and his team at l'escargot bleu on board and it's heartening for farmers to see such unflinching insistence on quality at a time when it would be understandable to look for the easy option.”

During lockdown, l’escargot bleu offered a weekly sell-out takeaway menu offering dishes like Rose Veal Steak Tartare, Hebridean Mutton Navarin and Cassoulet of confit Beef cheeks in duck fat, all featuring grass-fed meat.

Repeat business and feedback solidified Fred’s view that consumers are looking for restaurants they can trust. He said:

“The food system in this country has become so industrialised that chefs like me struggle to source quality ingredients. I realised over a decade ago that things were only getting worse. If I am not supporting pasture-fed meat producers, and educating my customers and staff, who is? It’s becoming increasingly political, and joining Pasture for Life not only strengthens my relationships with suppliers, but it also sends a clear message to the restaurant trade that customers want the option to eat better meat.”

Since re-opening to diners last year, l’escargot bleu has intensified their purchasing policy, using only seasonal produce or with fully-traceable provenance. They now server only four days per week and have removed some covers meaning they can offer a higher quality experience overall. Fred continued:

“I feel an affinity with the Pasture for Life farmers. Just as they are the ones who will save the countryside by protecting its biodiversity, I feel as a restaurateur, I’m protecting my trade by preserving the trust between chef and customer. Everything in the food chain is connected and every link must play their part as best they can.”
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