Q&A With Malcolm Harris

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Pampas Plains beef is sourced from the famed pastures of Argentina. Malcolm Harris, a descendent of one of the original Scottish clans that settled in Argentina over 200 years ago, is now literally “bringing home the beef” with his brand – which is already recognized as one of the finest in the world.

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How is your personality reflected in your business?

Drive, innovation, energy, eye for detail, thoroughness, persistence.

Who was/is your mentor?

I have many and each has a unique individual quality.

What personality traits are important in your line of work?

Innovation, detail, thoroughness, steadfastness, belief, understanding, enthusiasm

Describe your idea of the perfect steak.

A 16oz Sirloin, with a light sprinkling of Maldon sea salt on top, chargrilled on a charcoal grill till crispy on the outside, tender and bloody on the inside, with that blue cheese flavour that explodes in your mouth.

What do you consider to be one of your most important learning experiences (a career-altering moment, so to speak)?

The need to learn and appreciate skills that others excel at and you don’t, allowing them to run your organisation to its optimum. Also understanding the politics and slight of hand that operates in business at this level.

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Where do you spend most of your time (in Argentina or UK)? How would you describe your lifestyle?

The UK, hardworking, hard playing, dedicated.

Can you name five items that you always keep in your fridge at home?

Pampas Plains steak, Pampas pork ribs, Fresh Tomatoes, Fresh OJ, illy coffee.

Besides working within the food industry, what are your interests or hobbies?

Sailing, swimming, squash, classic motor racing, reading.

The green/organic lifestyle: how important is it to you and your business?

I’m more interested in the foods taste and what’s on the plate rather than the ‘label’, this is what matters at the end of the day.

If you could choose your last meal in life what would it be?

A welcome glass of Kir Royale with fine French Champagne, An entree of ‘Gamba Rojo’ from Spain with a slice of lemon and some fresh French bread, served with a the finest Spanish Albarino.  Main -  A 12 oz Pampas Sirloin steak, with a tomato, red onion, chilli beetroot and rocket salad served with a Lafont Rhokett 1997 red wine. Desert: an unusual selection of fruit sorbets, a double expresso (finest Columbian), a Fresh hand rolled cigar by Cohibas ‘Hamlet’ (Robusto) and to finish me off a 75 year old top class Armagnac.- That should just about do it, then you’ll need to find someone with a pin to pop me! One further request… that the meal be held in summer at ‘Les Roches’ restaurant in le lavendou, South of France, starting at 3pm in the afternoon.

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What inspires you and influences your work?

Happy clients, inspired staff, smooth running by working with good people, the bottom line result of this. Travel.

If you could go anywhere in the world as of tomorrow, which destination would you pick and why?

Brazil – climate, culture, drive and destiny.

What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment to date?

Meeting my wife.

How much does the product you work with inspire you to cook? Are you a passionate chef?

Yes I am a passionate chef, however the product I work with is limited by the fact that it is so good in its own right, it requires little else to make it better. This inspires me in other areas of cooking.

In your opinion, what is the best steak and beverage paring?

Pampas Ribeye steak, with tequila and lime butter and a fine Malbec.

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What were the ‘key’ ingredients to the success of Pampas Plains?

Hard nosed determination and persistence.

What have been some of the challenges in exporting Argentine beef to the UK?

Patriotism associated with beef.

What is your approach to PR and marketing? How did you / do you brand Pampas Plains?

PR & Marketing are intangibles with a cost, something that’s difficult for a small business, therefore you must innovate. PP is carefully branded by me and still is, we use word of mouth most of all. The brands principles are what flows through the organisation to the end client. Social Networks and Internet Marketing are good tools but limited by the fact that they have only just started and their true value has yet to be seen.

How would you describe the general attitude of people in the UK towards Argentine beef products?

Unknown and misunderstood at first, but getting more attention day by day. The cream always rises to the surface.

Do you have any tips for anyone going into the beef industry? What advice would you give your younger self if you could?

Stick to what you know, passion is what drives success. The aim of the game is to find out what your passion is and what drives you as soon as possible in life. Forget university unless it is integral to what you want to do in your passion.


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