It’s unlikely to be a hit for children’s lunch boxes but Jamie Oliver is making a new TV show about the benefits of eating road-kill.
The BBC programme, by Oliver’s TV-production company Fresh One, features pioneering forager and road-kill chef Fergus Drennan.
His delicacies include badger meatballs, roast duck and wild squirrel stew.
But unlike the meals served up in Oliver’s kitchens and best-selling recipe books, Drennan’s all have one thing in common: the animals met their death on the road.
Drennan, 35, an acquaintance of Oliver, serves the campaigning chef’s restaurant Fifteen as well as celebrity hang-out The Ivy with freshly-foraged weeds, mushrooms, nuts and berries.
A passionate advocate of the benefits of road-kill, he wants to change Britain’s eating habits and stop people consuming what he believes is bland rubbish.
If viewers are inspired to follow his example, Drennan’s road-kill recipes are expected to feature on the BBC3 programme website.
In the show, Road Kill Café, Drennan goes to Sandwich in Kent to persuade locals to forage for the first time and discover the delights of road-kill meat.
At the end of a three-week stay, he holds a wild-meat banquet, offering people the choice to eat either the food he sourced from beaches, forest undergrowths and roadside gutters or from normal channels.
While most people opted for his soup starter, featuring seaweed scooped up from the beach, many went back to the regular menu for the main course and turned down his braised rabbit and paella with rabbit and pheasant, all sourced from the road.
BBC3 controller Julian Bellamy said: “The law is that you can’t eat something that you yourself knocked over. You can only eat what you find.
“So Drennan has been combing the roads of Britain to look for animals.
“The only meat he will eat is road-kill. He eats badgers, squirrels, pretty much anything but a domestic pet. The only thing that he wouldn’t eat is a rat.
“The animal must be fresh. If rigor mortis has set in it’s not eaten. Otherwise it’s immediately back to his kitchen.
“He firmly believes that road-kill is better than processed meat.”
Drennan, who describes himself as vegetarian, has said: “If you haven’t seen or heard it being killed, and it’s not been killed on your behalf, then it’s okay.
“A lot of the meat that people buy from supermarkets doesn’t even look like it comes from an animal.”
Oliver’s production company Fresh One made the Channel 4 series Jamie’s School Dinners and Jamie’s Kitchen.
The show, which does not feature Oliver on screen, was announced at the BBC3 winter/spring 2007 season launch today.