As printed in the Manly Daily
Why did you become a butcher?
I fell into it when I was working at a deli in Chatswood Chase 15 years ago. I did a few hours in the butcher’s shop and I loved the camaraderie and the customer service. I spent four years doing an apprenticeship with day release to East Sydney TAFE. It’s closed and Granville is now the only TAFE in Sydney which offers butchery. The course has been reduced to three years, which I don’t think is long enough to learn the skills.
Why did you choose Balgowlah Heights?
I had been looking at a couple of sites before I opened in 2011. I wanted a street shop and to be part of a lovely community. Balgowlah Heights is perfect. I have five full-time butchers and a couple of kids who help out after school. I’d love to take on an apprentice but I just can’t find anyone. We work long hours, the shop is open six days a week from seven in the morning to six at night during the week and until 2pm on Saturdays.
How hard is it to compete with the supermarkets?
A trick is to stay fresh and active. I like to think that we are competitive price-wise, we have family specials. We can source on-trend products quickly, which is a huge advantage. I have good game suppliers so I can get venison, rabbit, as well as exotic meats like crocodile and emu. What we also have over the supermarkets is customer service, lots of advice and quality. Our produce is straight from the farms so we know its history. People are very interested in where their meat comes from.
What’s on trend now?
Our smoked pulled lamb is very popular. It’s marinated in cumin, fennel and smoked paprika. You take it home and cook it in a bag for four hours. We supply the recipe, which needs either apple cider or apple juice for cooking the meat. The dish is finished with pomegranate seeds and either mint or fresh coriander.
What’s your favourite cut of meat?
You can’t go past scotch fillet. It’s got flavour and it is tender.
How do you cook the perfect steak?
Take the meat out of the fridge 30 minutes before you are going to cook it. Sprinkle it with salt and olive oil. Preheat the barbie so it is medium hot and cook the steak for a couple of minutes on each side. Then let it rest for four minutes.
Do you have a favourite local restaurant?
It’s great down in Manly. I like In Situ for tapas and they’re also open for breakfast.