PNY aren’t just restaurants. We also have an extraordinary farm in Britain. In the country where bad weather provides green pastures, we breed among the France most beautiful cows.
LE PONCLET FARM PROJECT : PROVIDING THE BEST FRENCH MEAT
Above all, Le Ponclet is David Akpamagbo, a half breton/half beninese man, a friend, a passionate, a nut, who decided after graduating HEC to revolutionise the farming world.
The idea is simple : using the traditional tools and embracing modernity at the same time, in order to produce the most qualitative meat, as naturally as possible. The result : cows with beautiful hair living an exceptional life on an always-green pasture.
COWS ARISE FROM ANCIENT RACES PROVIDING AN EXCEPTIONAL GENETIC
Why do you always hear about Charolaise and Aubrac races? The breeder didn’t choose them for their taste but for their productivity compared to other races. Remember the enormous cows that we get to see every year at the « Salon de l’Agriculture » !
Because of intensive breeding, fertiliser, medicines and bad alimentation, most of bovine races have been damaged. That’s why at Le Ponclet, you’ll only find rare races that nobody has heard of.
The Bretonne Pie Noire, the Léon du Froment, the Armoricaine... You don’t know their names but they literally are gems to the French breeding field. Today, we own the biggest old races cows herd of France, and we’re very proud about it.
COWS ARE EXCLUSIVELY GRASS FED, THROUGHOUT THE YEAR
Most of french animals are corn fed and soy fed, it is faster and more simple : no pasture to look after, no climatic risks !
Obviously, the lack of nutrition that comes with that kind of alimentation has its effect on the meat’s organoleptic quality.
Breeding the cows in Britain, we make sure to keep the pastures green, generous and full of nutriments the year round.
It is worth mentioning that David - the Ponclet boss - carries as bedtime reading the « Grass Productivity » book of André Voisin, a big reference. David is convinced from the beginning that the soil - its quality but also what he’s breeding in - mostly determines the meat quality.
Pastures are organic certified or in progress of certification.
Le Ponclet owns now two huge lands facing each others. One is organic certified, the other is in the progress of obtaining certification. Having good lands full of nutriments and using no chemicals is what provides a good meat, full of nutriments and free from chemical products.
We don’t certify our meat as organic because we think it isn’t an adapted label. The organic doesn’t take into account the quality of the genetic cows, the reality of their alimentation, nor the raising conditions that can be stressful for the animal : a dying dairy cow which has been for all its life corn fed organically and which has been living in a few square metres will unfortunately give organic meat. The label doesn’t reflect neither our work nor our savoir-faire.
Cows graze in outdoors and profit from a huge space throughout the year
A cow who has a good life will provide good meat. Thus, all cows profit from an outdoor living the whole year round. The only time they’re kept inside is by big freeze. However in the Monts d’Arrée in Britain, it is 44.6 °F through out the year.
We transform cows into meat in an abattoir that respects the animal well-being.
A cow that is violently killed won’t be able to give good meat because of the stress it develops, which makes the lactic acid going to the muscles, destroying the farming work. We work with an abattoir which respects the cows and their well-being. The best would be to quietly kill them in the farm, next to the pastures. We seriously take this into account since the Alimentation law allows now experimentations. To be continued.
The meat is moderately dry-aged for a more subtle taste, directly at the farm.
It is very important to let the meat chill in a well ventilated fridge in order to let it tenderise and aged its taste. There is a trend to make the meat aged as long as possible, but that’s not much of our thing. It is like a running a car : it often enables the orignal low quality to be hidden. We love our meat, perfectly dry-aged to the moment where its natural flavour reveals itself. Therefore, soft aging - about three weeks, depending on the piece. Antho, the Ponclet #2 is handling this subtle art.
Meat is ground at the last minute in the restaurant
We most probably are the only restaurant owners in France to grind meat ourselves! If you compare a ground beef that is prepared in an instant, to an other one made in a lab, which is vacuum packed, well, they won’t really taste the same. However convenient this would be for us, our mission is to provide the world’s best burger, so we gladly do what’s necessary.
The farm provides the world’s most exigent starred chef for PNY
You’ll find two different kinds of meat in a cow : the backs and the fronts. And here is the thing : people only want the eat the back parts!
The muscles in the back parts give a tender meat - it is in these specific parts that you’ll find some of the famous fillets and the good ribs steak that you can directly grill. But back parts only represent 30% of the cow. So, what to do with the rest?
Fronts parts are nightmares to farmers. Indeed, muscles in the front work tougher which makes the meat harder and people don’t want it. These pieces are most often thrown away. It is one of the reasons why farmers do extensive farming to produce cheap fillets and sirloin steaks, which is a strategy that ruined our agricultural landscape.
Quite the contrary, fronts aren’t bad meat. They just need to be tenderised. You can make it a nice pot-au-feu that has simmered for a couple of hours, or grind it into delicious ground beef.
PNY uses all the farm cows’ front parts. Nothing is thrown away. We thus totally respect the animal but also the exceptional farm team work, David, Antho, Yann...
What about the vegetarians?
We know today that cows and beefs aren’t able to live without us. We couldn’t give them back to nature. However, the old « noble » sense of this aliment needs to emerge again. And that’s what our approach is all about.
We kindly invite you to read on this subject the very erudite Jocelyne Porcher, the national institute of the audiovisual director who used to be vegetarian.
And because vegetarianism is a full meaning response to the big issues related to our damaged planet, we work hard to create the world’s most addictive vegetarian recipes. Our « Atomic » burger is made out of a big Portobello mushroom and represents no less than 20% of our sales - which is cool. What’s more, we tend to create every season a 100% veggie new recipe, with our remaining ambition to be as satisfying as a nice piece of meat :)
What’s with the butter then?
You might know Le Ponclet for its butter? Hell yeah. We also make butter at the farm, and not any butter! From the start, David dreams about a global project where milk and meat are part of a same all.
David assimilates and even goes beyond the best traditional techniques, adding his scientific knowledge with the modern means. The result is an exceptional butter, considered by many as one of the best in the planet.