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The Gourmet Butcher’s First Blog

8/31/2011 12:23:29 PM

Tags: Cole Ward, Cole Ward The Gourmet Butcher, The Gourmet Butcher, culinary butchery, butchering, home butchering, home meat cutting

Cole with big bone I LOVE MEAT. 

Might as well say that up front. I've been working with meat since I was fourteen. I started in my godfather's Vermont meat market for 24 cents an hour, stuffing sausage. And strange but true: I loved it.

Since then, I've done just about everything meat related ... running meat departments in tiny country stores as well as huge supermarkets, learning how to prepare and present meat, developing recipes, becoming a master sausage maker, inventing new marinades and ultimately, ripening into a culinary and teaching butcher. 

I've worked everywhere. In Los Angeles I did all the meat props for CBS Studios and displays for national TV commercials. I fondly remember the time one of my rib roasts flew out a window on “Three’s Company." My customers included Billy Crystal, Raymond Burr, Glenn Ford, Bernadette Peters, Lucille Ball (am I aging myself here?) ... all the big actors of the time. They wanted quality. 

People buy meat with their eyes, but they need to be more cautious. Where did that meat come from? You think it's healthy because the label says "natural," but the fact is that the government has lowered standards on product terminologies so that corporate America can cash in. If there’s one thing my time at large supermarkets taught me is that sustainably raised animals are the only way to go. That’s why I much prefer working in small butcher shops, where I can be creative and proud of the meat I sell. You have to believe in your product and never settle for second best.

I strongly believe in knowing your food's provenance ... keeping it local, knowing who raised that animal and making sure it was treated well. You can always taste the difference.

I love what I do, and I love teaching others about good meat. That's what this blog is all about. I want to share my passion with all you other meat lovers and sustainable, healthy living advocates out there. 

Personal aims? I want to bring back the age-old tradition of the local butcher. This was the go-to guy for everyone in the neighbourhood. He taught newlyweds how to cook, introduced and explained meat cuts to local family cooks, made specialty products, and delivered a healthy, safe and consistent product. We shouldn’t allow the art of culinary butchery to die. That’s why I’m The Gourmet Butcher, and proud of it.

Oh, and if you're looking for a boogie-woogie accordion player, I'm your man!



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