Meet Brad Farmerie!


Brad Farmerie
Executive chef, Public and Double Crown, NYC

How long have you been a butcher and where did you get your start? Have you been working with “sustainable” meats the whole time and if not, what precipitated your shift in practices?

I have been a cook/chef for about 16 years + or -, but didn’t really get into butchering whole animals and larger cuts until about 10 years ago. Up until that time, most of the restaurants that I worked in used prefabricated portions, but at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons , Chef Raymond Blanc had a vision that included vegetables grown right on the property and whole animals (for everything except beef and veal) from local farms that raised animals specifically for Le Manoir. It was a serious change of operation watching the sous chefs leaving vegetable requests with the folks in charge of the garden and calling farms directly to get the meat order. It dealt with building relationships with people that you know are working just as hard as you are to produce amazing items, and supporting those people to make sure that those animals are looked after from paddock to plate.

Later on I went back to work with the iconic New Zealand chef Peter Gordon. The sheer size of the kitchen at his restaurant (or lack thereof) didn’t allow for whole animals but definitely taught me respect for the more unusual cuts and offal. His philosophy and support of farms across the UK, along with farms (and the personalities) in Australia and New Zealand gave me a better insight into trying to work with great people doing great things with food instead of painting yourself into a corner of hard core “local” product. Many of the operations I work with may not be local, but they have a small scale and sustainable outlook that is amazing and should be supported.

What do you think about the current media hype and attention on butchery, butchers and meat in general?

It means I can finally give up the hard hours and retire, right?

It’s definitely a good thing, and anyone that says otherwise is a loca enchilada. There is a chance to change the slippery slope of American nepotism towards the shrink wrapped boneless, skinless, and flavorless flesh. The media almost has to be a part of it to make it work.

What do you believe is the role of butchers in the movement for a sustainable food system and what do you see as the biggest impediment to a truly sustainable meat industry?

I think the ideal role of a butcher in a sustainable movement is to be able to desensitize their customers to the cut of an animal on offer and to celebrate the flesh itself. The insight that a meat professional can offer on guidance to meat selection and cooking technique is invaluable. This would use a seriously suggestive sell (with tons of advice) on how to use the cut.

The biggest impediment is preconceived notions, personal history, lack of information, and anything else that keeps folks from buying the whole beast.

What does being a member of The Butcher’s Guild mean to you?

Hopefully it means that many of the decisions I made way back when were good ones. Its an honor to be amongst the best in the business and I’m just looking forward to helping in any way possible.

Your absolute favorite cut and preparation method/recipe:

That’s like asking me to pick my favorite family member! There are too many great choices, each with their own cool and quirky reason for being chosen. I’ll narrow it just a little, but don’t tell anyone I’m playing favorites…

Deboned pork neck “steak”-simply lubed up with EVO and seasoned with Maldon salt and a quick grind of pepper- thrown on the grill till medium, rested, and passed across the line while we are in the middle of a busy service at the restaurant. It helps to make the whole night look a whole lot better. No shit- I am literally eating a super delicious one (post service) as I type this. I always hear folks recommending to cook this bit of deliciousness in a braise or slow and long roast, but I think that just squeezes the personality right out of it.

Wagyu tongue- I’m a huge fan of this. It takes all of the (ridiculously slim) willpower that I have to resist the temptation of sampling the goodness while prepping it between the poach and grill phase – some of those succulent back slices may never make it. We usually cook this one in a slow poach (super aromatic and acidic broth) till tender, peeled, portioned, and grilled.

Thanks to Brad Farmerie! Have a great weekend, and if you are in NYC, head to Public for Brunch!


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