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« Jonnatan Leiva, chef & Matthew Wilbur, sous. butchering lamb & suckling pig. | Main | Chef Advice. or, when cooks say " ." chefs hear " ." »

09 March 2010


Shuna, I am bringing a expert French artisan pork producer and butcher to the US in April for a series of workshops for pros on French Cut Seam Butchery & Charcuterie- French PIG. details and more info here. Thanks for passing this on to West Coast cooks.

I have worked in 5 restaurants.
None of them brought in whole animals. Except halibut, which to me doesn't count. Only primals on most proteins.

I worked in 7 restaurants, and only one brought in whole lamb, deer and rabbits.

None of them brought in hogs, or cattle.

I don't use Twitter, but I wanted to respond anyway. I've worked in one restaurant (the rest of my 7-year career taking place in bakeries and p√Ętisseries). At the time, they did all their own fish butchering, and judging from the direction the menu took after I left, I'm willing to bet there were at least a few whole animals brought in for butchering.

In Italy, I worked with Dario Cecchini and he took his butcher shop and now has two restaurants-
he has trained many chefs from all over the world- who wanted to leran butchering for their restuarants.

Now there are also many butchers with restaurants- so I hope that there are also chefs that butcher!

At least as dozen restaurants on my resume, only two of which weren't considered fine dining, and none of them have butchered whole animals.

I was lucky enough to be trained in one that broke down beef and pork, unfortunately it was 18 years ago, and none others have done so since....

I have worked in three restaurants in new york and another in boulder, co. I now have my own place in upstate new york where we purchase almost exclusively half and whole animals and do all butchering in house.
We are a very small crew, buthave found this is the best way to embrace the local producers and explore our own abilities.

I don't work in kitchens, but you probably know of the restaurants here in NOLA which have whole animals, like Boucherie. There are some amazing sausage makers here too, but one of my favorite is Terranova's grocery store, where Mr. Terranova won't share the recipes yet with his son Tommy, though he's in his late 20's, because he hasn't married yet, proving he's not serious enough to make good sausage. I make my sister in NYC read your blog, and I've gotten several more started on it. It is always enjoyable, even when tough. I enjoy the purity, directness and thoughtfulness of your writing - it could be any subject.

I've worked in two restaurants one of which does butchering. Some products come in pre-cut and others come in whole, ie: suckling pigs and spring lambs. Most fish are filleted out in house as well. We have enough work to be able to pay a full time butcher.

Only 3, really. The first didn't. The second had a whole animal program- pigs every week, lambs less often, and I'm no longer there but they're doing whole beef animals now. My current place does whole hogs sometimes, lambs and goats fairly often, whole chickens every week.

I've worked in 7 restaurants. Four brought in whole or half animals and broke them down in house. Beef was usually brought in primals and broken down further.

So far, I've interned in 2 NYC restaurants. One butchered whole animals, but I was seeking such a place when I went to work there, so that may skew the results of your poll.

When I worked in Europe, there was a lot of butchering of whole carcass. Part of my apprenticeship was 6 months section working in the larder section butchering everything from beef, veal, lamb, pork, and all fish. It was also part of the final chef examination. With my career in North America, only one large hotel property butchered. Most restaurants purchase primal or pre-cut steaks. The skill is being slowly lost.

this doesn't really have to do with your question but it sparks a memory...interesting how back in Europe prior the war 'what you did as a profession' had everything to do with what you could provide to your uncle was a butcher back then and upon coming to Canada owned a butchershop here as well; the philosophy being - if you were a butcher your family would always have food on the table and never go hungry

Hi Shuna - This has nothing to do with your post, but Happy Birthday! Hope you were extra good to yourself. Keep up the great blogs and even better desserts - Beth

Hi Shuna,

Love your blog.

Of the places that I've worked, in-house butchering extends as far as portioning racks, breaking down fish, etc.. For the most part, as I'm sure you know, the time, effort, space, and training of butchering an entire animal is not something that is usually practical in a nyc kitchen. Right or wrong, this is the reality. To work in a kitchen that has that capability is a boon. I'm jealous.


I've worked in 5 kitchens in three states, and only one brought in and butchered whole animals. I'm still in awe of all that I learned while I was there.

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