Butcher insures taste buds for £1m


Celebrities have previously insured everything from their legs to smiles but a master butcher has proved he is a cut above - as he prepares to have his taste buds insured for £1 million.

Keith Fisher will be covered for the huge sum to protect his unparalleled sense of taste, which has been responsible for distinguishing more than 50,000 cuts and cures of bacon during a 43-year career.

Mr Fisher's palate is widely considered to be the best in the business and means he can identify any variety or cure of pork in the world.

He said taste has always played a huge role in his life, and was honoured to discover his taste buds were to be insured for the eye-raising sum.

The 61-year-old said: "I'm passionate about quality bacon and the range of cuts and cures that we produce is just outstanding.

"Butchers of course have been perfecting the art of bacon curing for hundreds of years but it's great to see the huge variety that is now available in supermarkets too.

"My ability to taste the subtleties in different producers' bacon has stood me in very good stead over the years and has proven to be critically important when it comes to judging the best of the best."

Mr Fisher, who comes from a long line of butchers, was trained at London's Smithfield College and market, where meat has been sold since the 10th century.

He is the fourth generation of his family to become a butcher and follows in the footsteps of his great grandfather, who was awarded his "slaughtering license for the military" by Queen Victoria.

Mr Fisher now sits on the board of the British Pig Executive (BPEX), an organisation devoted to the sustainability of British pork and bacon and regularly judges the grades of pork cuts.

Insuring body parts is not a new phenomenon, dating back to 1920s Hollywood when silent movie legend Ben Turpin, famed for his cross eyes, took out a 20,000 dollar policy against them uncrossing.

Since then, Ken Dodd has insured his teeth for £4 million and chef Antony Worrall Thompson had a policy covering his fingers and tongue for £500,000 each.

Rumours that Kylie Minogue and Jennifer Lopez insured their rear ends for around £500,000 have been denied.

The policy insuring the chief master taster's taste buds marks the launch of the Red, White & Bacon Awards - a national competition celebrating the very best of bacons, as part of Bacon Connoisseur's Week.

Tina Mulholland, product marketing manager for BPEX, said: "Keith is widely respected within the industry and is seen as a leading authority on bacon.

"As a grand master butcher and the resident baconologist and head judge for Bacon Connoisseurs' Week, Keith's vast experience makes him the ideal person to lead the judging panel of tasters.

"As part of his role as head judge he and the rest of the panellists had to taste over 200 different cuts and cures of premium bacon for this year's award.

"As such, it was imperative that we protect his prize assets for the campaign."