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How To Get Into the Food Industry: Part 2 Butchery

We are back! This time to shine a light into the world of butchery as a career path in the food world. We really want to open up those conversations so we can all learn from each other and perhaps explore other avenues that we previously may not have done. For our ‘how to get into the food industry part 2’ we are talking about butchery with none other than the head butcher of famous Quality Chop House. Take it away Richard!
1. Tell us about you, introduce yourself
My Name is Richard and I am from Tasmania, Australia. I have been in the food industry for about 15 years. I started as a kitchen porter many years ago and then become a chef, I am now working as a butcher and have been doing so for about 4 years.
2. How did you get into being a butcher? Did you train anywhere? 
When I was working as a chef in Bristol, I volunteered in a butcher’s shop on my days off. I did this for about a year, roughly a day per week. I was just so interested in all areas of the food industry and wanted to know everything, including butchery! Years later when I moved to London, I first worked at Portland restaurant. And then I got a job in as the Head butcher of the Quality Chop House Shop which belongs to the same restaurant group as Portland. I never thought I would become a butcher, but it has been a great turn of events.
3. What does a typical day at work look like to you?
The shop that I work in is connected to a restaurant of the same name, The Quality Chop House and I source and prep all the meat for them. So, in my job I have two main roles; meat preparation for the restaurant and the retail butchery counter. What I’m preparing for the restaurant is constantly changing depending on the menu (I need to be flexible because dishes can change from lunch to dinner service). The retail butchery just consists of displaying meat to sell in a counter fridge. The range in the fridge are the classics: chops, steaks, mince, etc. And also, whatever I fancy creating.
4. What’s the best part of your job? Any drawbacks?
I would say the best part is the people, especially the people that become your regulars. Creating relationships with people you would never have met otherwise and also meaningful, brief but meaningful. The other thing I love is the produce and the relationships with suppliers.
5. Where do you get your produce from?
We work with small farms across the UK mainly from the north of England. Whenever possible, we get whole carcass so nothing gets wasted.
6. What advice would you give to anyone who is considering becoming a butcher?
It really would not be hard at all to get your foot in the door as a butcher. Just look presentable and have a genuine interest and someone will take you on. Go down to your local butcher and ask to work a day for free and see if you like it; if they say no ask them around Christmas time. And finally just be reliable, reliability is the single most important thing the rest should fall into place around that
7. Be real with us, what are the expected salary brackets for a butcher? Starting and up to?
I would say the starting salary for a butcher is about 18k but my route there was a bit different so not entirely sure. If you were an ex-chef you would probably find a job for more then that but it will vary depending on experience and the place you work/job role. I would say Head butchers probably earn around 40K and owning your own butcher shop would be very lucrative.
8. If you could do anything else, what would it be?
Pro skateboarder.
Thank you Richard and a big shoutout to Quality Chop House!
Photos: @qualitychop
Do you work in a part of the food world that you want to shine a light on? GREAT, get in touch with us via email: service@countertalk.co.uk
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