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National Butchers Week Meet Our Butchers

25 Feb

National Butchers Week - Meet Our Butchers

It’s National Butchers Week this week, an event aimed at promoting the craft of butchery, so we decided to have a quick chat with some of our very own butchers and ask them some questions.


Have you ever thought about how you become a butcher? What is the training to become a butcher like? Or even, what is a butcher’s favorite cut of meat? Then look no further! Our butchers are incredibly busy processing all of our customer orders by hand, so we really appreciated them taking a little bit of time out of their day to talk to our copywriter for this blog post. Thanks guys!

 

First, we spoke to Willie, who is usually one of our Night Shift Supervisors although this time we were lucky enough to catch him on a day shift.


So, Willie, how long have you been a butcher?”
“I’ve been a butcher for 21 years”

“That’s a long time! When did you start then?”
“I actually started at my father’s. He had a butcher’s shop, he was a butcher.”

“That seems very traditional!”
“I suppose it is!”

“Did you start young then?”
“Aye, at 11 I was learning about cutting bits of meat”

“And where did you learn?”
“There. At my father’s shop. I did my apprenticeship there”

“So how long have you been at Campbells then?”
“I have been at Campbells for…just about 6 years”

“And what is your favourite cut of meat, would you say?”
Sirloin. It’s got not too much fat but it has loads of flavour.”

“And how would you cook that?”
“Simple. Fry it for 2 to 3 minutes on each side. It has to be red but no blood.”

“And what do you have it with?”
“Chips, onion rings…sometimes y’know with carrots and peas as well…but onion rings are what I like.”

“And what do you wish people knew more about butchery?”
“A lot of people don’t know about different cuts and how to cook them. You’ve got to know what you are cooking with if you want it to taste nice, see you won’t get the same results with any cut of meat. You have to know what you are dealing with to bring the best out of it. People need to have more knowledge about that I think. I wish people knew more about meat, and products, and cooking.”

“And what do you like about working at Campbells?”
“I like everything about working at Campbells! I have been here a long time”

 

Next, we spoke to Darren, who is one of our Butchers.

“And you are Darren, yes?”
“Aye the proper spelling. The right Darren”

(We have someone else with the same name and a different spelling on site, we are not here to judge who in fact does have the correct spelling)

“So how long have you been a butcher?”
“For…17 years”

“If you don’t mind me asking, how old are you?”
“I’m 33”

“So half your life you have been a butcher then?”
“Half my life!...Why would you say that? Haha! Yes, half my life then”

“And how did you become a butcher?”
“It was by chance. At the time my Dad’s girlfriend was friends with a butcher shop owner and her sons were too young when learning came up so I thought I would try it”

“So you did an apprenticeship there?”
“Aye, two years apprenticeship”

“And what is your favourite cut of meat?”
Sirloin. Sirloin cut to 340g, that’s like 12oz-”

“-That’s a big steak!”
“-It is a big steak!”

“And what do you serve it with?”
“Chips. Brown Sauce.”

“How do you cook it?”
“Rub it with olive oil, black pepper, dried mixed herbs. You should never oil the pan, just oil the steak.”

“What about salt?”
“No salt, it dries out the steak. Then leave it for 30 minutes to get to room temperature. Then just fry it for a few minutes on each side”

“And what do you wish people knew more about when it comes to butchery, or meat in general?”
“How complicated it all is. From start to finish, the whole process. I wish people knew more about the craft, how long it takes to learn to do it properly. I think people are used to just seeing a steak, they don’t think about how it has to be cut, or the skill it takes”

“And what do you like working at Campbells?”
“It’s a good laugh”

 

We then spoke to Ross, who is coming to the end of his apprenticeship at Campbells.

“Hi Ross! How long have you been at Campbells?”
“About three years”

“And how did you start here?”
“It was through a friend, they worked at Campbells. And I thought it was a good trade to do. To get in to.”

“And you are doing an apprenticeship here, is that right?”
“Coming to the end of it. So three years, and three months I’ve been here”

“And what are you enjoying about it so far?”
“I like that I am providing a product and a service to people. I enjoy the craft of it, and the skill. Starting with a large bit of meat, the attention to detail you need to cut different products and different cuts. Craftsmanship. That’s what I like”

“And what is your favourite cut of meat?”
"Pork fillet"

“Pork fillet? Not steak?”
“No, I prefer pork. And pork fillet is the most tender”

“And what do you do with that?”
“Something quick and simple, like a stir fry. Fry it quickly and have it with a mix of vegetables and that”

“And what do you wish people knew more about when it comes to meat and butchery?”
“So much of it is working as a team. And it’s varied. Every bit of meat is different, every animal is so different. And knowing where meat comes from, the difference between Scotch and other types. How important traceability is, and quality”

“And what do you like about working at Campbells?”
“It’s the camaraderie. People have been here for years”

 

We were then able to get a few words from one of our managers, Mark.

“So, Mark. How long have you been a butcher?”
“I have been a butcher for 31 years”

“That is a very long time! Can I ask if a lot has changed?”
“I think people have become more adventurous in their tastes, especially in the last five years. Especially with less traditional and less popular cuts. People are buying cheaper cuts but higher quality. Like featherblade, shin, ox cheek. Cuts that are versatile and cheap. Great in stews and curries.”

“And how did you become a butcher?”
“My pal’s Dad owned a shop. So I did my apprenticeship there. I started off washing knives, to then boning out basic things, then boning out other animals, then everything else”

“And what is your favourite cut of meat?”
“I like Ribeye. It’s just the right amount of fat for flavour”

“How do you like it?”
“I like it served Medium. With baby potatoes, broccoli, peppercorn sauce. Or in a steak sandwich with Dijon and greens in a panini”

“What do you wish people knew more about when it comes to meat and butchery?”
“I think people need to appreciate the animal more. Where their food comes from. It is a very lengthy process and I think if people knew more about that they would care more about animal welfare. The whole thing, field to plate. The whole process of where your meat comes from, what they get fed, how the animal is take care of, how QMS fits into all of it. Different cattle breeds. It’s important”

“And how long have you been at Campbells?”
“I have been here for 25 years. I started as a butcher, then became a supervisor, then a manager”

“And what do you like about Campbells?”
“I like the people, and the friendships. On a personal level. I have been here a long time. On a professional level, I get to work with some excellent chefs, and I know some of the meat I cut gets to be cooked by chefs with Michelin stars”

 

Following this, we spoke to one of our supervisors, Jordan.

“Hi Jordan! How long have you been a butcher?”
“I have been a butcher for 14 years”

“And how did you become a butcher?”
“I started at 14. I did an apprenticeship on Saturdays and Sundays, and my summers and holidays from school.”

“How did that come about?”
“I just went in to a butcher and asked if I could work”

“Then what happened?”
“I left school at 16, so I started working there full-time. And learning. I figured it was good to get into. People need to eat. I started learning the full trade”

“Have you noticed anything change since you started?”
“Definitely the traceability process. All the paperwork, the specifications. It is far more scientific and exact than people think.”

“And what is your favourite cut of meat?”
“Has to be fillet. Medium rare. Peppercorn Sauce. Homemade chips. Got to be homemade chips as well”

“And what do you wish people knew more about meat and butchery?”
“The skill, the craft, the thought process throughout all of it. The maths involved, the weights and numbers. You have to be very alert all the time. You also have to be passionate about it and have your heart in it. Because it is hard work, and the training is hard. I’ve also done the Campbells management course so I am now a supervisor.”

“What do you like about working at Campbells?”
“The training opportunities. It’s very close knit, there are a lot of friendships here. You can have a good laugh and work hard. The fillet every Friday helps as well!”

 

Lastly, we spoke to one of our butchers, Jim.

“So, Jim. How long have you been a butcher?”
“I have been a butcher for 32 years. This is my 21st year at Campbells”

“And how did you become a butcher?”
“I left school, I needed a job. I was walking through the market near where I lived and I saw a sign for an apprentice butcher. I can still see that sign. Then I spent a year there in Inverness and then another year in Invergordon in a supermarket. I finished my apprenticeship there”

“And what has changed since you started?”
“I’ve done a variety of different jobs. I’ve done shop work, game dealing like venison and rabbit, and slaughterhouse work, and boning. I’ve noticed the equipment has changed for boning, it has become a lot more mechanical at that stage. We still cut by hand here as a butcher. I’ve noticed that things like hanger steak which used to be diced and put in pies is now more popular. People are buying cheaper cuts of meat and being more adventurous.”

“What is your favourite cut of meat?”
Ribeye. Lots of flavour, the fat is very good for that. Medium”

“What do you have it with?”
“I like roasted red peppers, carrots, cheesy mash, and peppercorn sauce. I also like a good rib roast, boned and rolled. With roast tatties, Yorkshires, cabbage, and gravy”

“What do you wish more people knew about meat and butchery?”
“I wish there was more awareness about what we do. The different parts like trimming, boning, finishing. It isn’t an easy job. You have to be precise.”

“And what do you like about working at Campbells?”
“It’s a very steady and secure company that has been around a long time. I’m well-treated. Plus, the discounted products of course!”