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.

Sean Caffrey
8/31/2011 5:57:15 PM

Thank You Cole.As a professional chef this is exactly why we do what we do.The term to cook with love is not a catchphrase to be sullied by our generic box stores.Of course quality and knowledge of our product is paramount,and with people like yourself it seems we will bring our main streets home.

Bruce McElmurray
8/31/2011 2:04:13 PM

Welcome to the world of bloggers Cole: When I was a youngster my mom would send me to the neighborhood market with a note for the butcher and money to pay for the cut of meat. Your comments bring back good memories. All have disappeared now but we live in a tiny community where our local store still has a butcher that cuts us prime cuts of meat. I look forward to your future blogs and welcome. P.S. I wanted to play accordion when I was younger but my parents sent me to play steel guitar instead. As a result I never played either one. Maybe one day you can put a video on your blog with the accordion so we can all appreciate your music..

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