Pleased to Meat You: Butchers Demonstrate Butchering and Keep Tradition Alive
We might gather with friends and family to watch the Super Bowl and nosh on pulled pork sandwiches and bacon burgers, and maybe toss the old pigskin around. But 200 years ago, communities got together for a different kind of pork party. Not to eat pork, but to feed their families all winter long.
Legendary Chef John Folse and The Culinary Vegetable Institute join in recreating the age-old Southern social tradition known as Fête des Bouchers, Saturday, October 12th at the Culinary Vegetable Institute. Chef Folse is culinary ambassador of Louisiana, and chef at White Oaks Plantation in Baton Rouge.
Translated from the French, the “party of butchers” began as a practical social event in Cajun communities.It was a day for neighbors, families and friends to gather together and butcher and prepare hogs to fill their larders for the winter. Arcadian immigrants who arrived on Louisiana’s shores, brought the tradition with them, and Fêtes des Bouchers began happening in the United States.
Chef Folse has worked to revive the practice to honor its heritage for modern day meat lovers. A cadre of butchers and chefs will join Chef Folse at the event to demonstrate the multiple ways a single animal can be prepared.
If the Culinary Vegetable Institute seems like an unlikely place to showcase this carnivorous tradition, you’re right. But the two share a common dedication to zero waste and a commitment to using the entire vegetable (root to tip), as well as the entire animal (snout to tail). And of course, fostering a community of curious food lovers will tie the two together.
Also like the CVI, Chef Folse considers teaching an important part of the Fête des Bouchers. He says his goal in resurrecting the tradition is “focusing on the educational aspects of Boucherie.” Besides the familiar roasts, chops, ribs and hams, Chef Folse said he enjoys “teaching others how to make delicacies like hog’s head cheese, andouille, boudin, smoked sausage, cracklin and other spoils of the Boucherie.”
Ohio’s Piece of the Pork Pie
Besides Cajun country, Ohio has its own Boucherie tradition tracing back to the19th century when Cincinnati (nicknamed Porkopolis at the time) was a major commerce center for hog farmers. Hogs freely roamed the streets of the packing district, and the city boasted 26 meat processing plants at one point. Besides edible pork products, soap and candles were made from the inedible remains.(Proctor and Gamble set up shop there.)
Forward-thinking Cincinnati hog farmers shipped their animals down the Mississippi River, via flatboats, to New Orleans. The city also lays claim to the first modern pork-packing plant to preserve meat in barrels of brine.
Cleveland has its own butchery traditions as well, brought here by eastern European immigrants. Today, Cleveland is home to a growing number of young artisan butchers aiming to revitalize the craft and keep the Fête des Bouchers alive.
Presenters will include:
Chef John Folse | White Oaks Plantation, Baton Rouge, LA
Andrew Gorski | Parker’s Downtown, Cleveland, OH
Melissa Khoury & Penny Berend | Saucisson, Cleveland, OH
Brian and Dylon Polcyn, Michigan
Jerry Rush | Butcher and the Brewer, Cleveland, OH
Brett Oliver Sawyer | The Plum, Cleveland, OH
John Selick, Anthony Verona, Ryan Hamel & Joe Horvath | Sodexo, University Hospitals, Cleveland, OH
Phil Wingo | PorkMafia
Chef Rikk Panzera | Bidwell Training Center, Pittsburgh, PA
Mark DeNittis | DeNCO Enterprises
Aaron Norris | Game Changer Smokers
Chef Tripp Rion | Game Changer Smokers
Adam Helfrich | Game Changer Smokers
Historian Jim Hunter
Historian Steve Estopinal
Here is a breakdown of the day’s events:
8 am Doors Open
Guests will have the opportunity to visit butchers at their stations to observe and engage in conversation as they prepare fresh and cured saus