A SOUTH Lakeland man who hoped his farm would be the first in the UK to serve up pure home-bred Japanese wagyu meat to the public has expressed his disappointment at being ‘pipped at the post’.

Jonathan Denby’s cattle were bred at High Lowscales Farm, Millom, using embryos and sur-rogate mothers, and the hotelier was hopeful he would serve the speciality to his guests before anyone else.

But Suffolk farmer Andrew Deacon is now supplying the ‘caviar of meats’ to Raymond Blanc’s gourmet restaurant Le Manoir Aux Quat Saisons and his local pub.

“Great minds think alike,” joked Mr Denby. “It looks as though Andrew had exactly the same idea that I did at about the same time.

“I applaud what he has done. I think his prog-ramme is absolutely fantastic and it is slightly disappointing to me that he has just pipped me at the post because my first two bullocks are ready to be slaughtered in the new year. They are fabulous.

“It’s a pity from my point of view that he put it into practice a couple of months before me.

“From the pictures I have seen of the meat from Mr Deacon’s farm, the beef looks excellent.”

Wagyu meat is highly sought after, but until now, only imported cuts were being served – with Gordon Ramsay charging £110 for a steak at his Maze Grill, London.

Mr Denby says that when it is served at his three hotels – The Damson Dene Hotel, Crosthwaite, the Newby Bridge Hotel, and Kendal's Riverside Hotel – the meat will be much more affordable.

“The meat will be ready either in January or February. Wagyu is never hung, unlike British beef, which is hung for 30 days.

“In Japan it is on the plate within three or four days of slaughter and it will be exactly the same for my Wagyu.”