The Gourmet Butcher’s First Blog

Reader Contribution by Cole Ward

Cole with big boneI 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


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


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