Vermont-native Cole Ward casually wields a 10-inch scimitar as most people wield a butter knife, grazing through meat as if it were a melting slab of butter. His passion for butchering is not only remarkable to watch, it is contagious and as such, Ward is helping to reignite this dying culinary art through the release of instructional seminars and DVD’s (www.thegourmetbutcher.com).
As the lost art of butchering re-emerges onto today’s modern culinary scene, Cole has created a multitude of resources to aid chefs, homesteaders, home cooks and farmers who possess the desire to gain this coveted skill. As more and more Americans crave assurance in the food that they eat as it travels from the farm to table, there is no greater form of transparency than preparing the meat yourself. The benefits of butchering your own meat are endless. For example buying your own meat directly from a trusted source and butchering it yourself can help guard against contamination that may come from a slaughterhouse.
One of the main deterrents from taking up butchering is the general lack of knowledge on the art form. With the release of Ward’s DVD set “The Gourmet Butcher: From Farm to Table,” Ward partners with chef Courtney Contos of Essex Junction to help people understand the cuts of their beef, pork and lamb. For example, Ward starts with a side of beef, quarters it, and shows how to create Rib Eye, Sirloin, T-Bone, Porterhouse, Flat Iron and Delmonico Steaks.
Even if viewers never intend to butcher their own meat within the confines of their kitchen, the videos serve as enlightening seminars for meat-eaters who want to better understand their choices at the meat counter.
With four decades of experience under his belt, Ward was recently named one of America’s top 50 butchers in Marissa Guiggiana’s book Primal Cuts: Cooking with America’s Best Butchers. Ward began his impressive career at the tender age of 14 working part-time in a butcher shop stuffing sausages for 20 cents an hour, it wasn’t long before he began apprenticing full time.
Ward has utilized his skills in both small and large butcher shops, as well as serving as a butcher to a variety of celebrities and CBS Studios. Sharing the knowledge he has amassed over the years on his blog Cole’s Cuts (http://colescuts.com/) and his Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/TheGourmetButcher), Ward offers up advice on avoiding food-bourne pathogens, recipes and everything in between. He is also hosting a hands on butchering Seminar this June for a select group of participants and regularly participates in speaking engagements.
An invaluable resource for anyone looking to butcher their own meat or simply become more knowledgeable on the meat they are putting into their bodies, Cole Ward’s expertise is sure to make meat connoisseurs out of willing beginning butchers.