Chefs and sporting celebrities back British turkey

TV chef Phil Vickery has launched a national recipe challenge on behalf of the British turkey industry. The campaign is set to encourage people to eat more turkey and to try different cooking methods, such as barbecuing.

Vickery, a regular on BBC2's Ready Steady Cook and ITV's This Morning, said: "Not many people think about turkey at this time of year - and they certainly don't think about barbecuing. But hopefully we will get the message across that British turkey is not just for Christmas. It is extremely versatile and is a great, healthy choice for the family all year round."

The campaign brings together three sporting celebrities - rugby hero Matt Dawson, champion jockey Frankie Dettori and tennis star and TV presenter Annabel Croft - plus three TV chefs - Lesley Waters, Paul Rankin and Nick Nairn - and invites consumers to vote on which of them has created the best British turkey recipe.

British Turkey spokesperson, Kim Burgess, said: "We are also challenging consumers who think they can do better to send in their own original British turkey recipes.

"The campaign will give us exposure all through the year and we are planning to compile the best recipes into a book with profits going to the children's charity SPARKS.

"We have raised almost £25,000 for SPARKS over the last four years and we are hoping this will provide another boost to this wonderful charity."

The recipe challenge will centre on turkey's status as one of the 14 original "superfoods" identified by Dr Steven Pratt.

Burgess said: "Turkey is the only meat in the line-up and earns its place as one of the healthiest forms of protein on the planet.

"We will also be hammering home the message that British turkey is extremely versatile, easy to cook and, of course, tasty.

"Turkey manufacturers are developing a fast-growing range of portioned and convenience products with al fresco and barbecue eating in mind.

"And thanks to the great support from retailers and butchers, these are now widely available for consumers under our all-important Quality British Turkey mark. This guarantees the turkey from British producers is of the highest standard - which is a vital consideration for a growing number of consumers."