Ryan Fibiger, Fleisher’s carved out a niche in the sustainable food industry by combining his passion for food and agriculture with his business experience. With several exciting new food projects under his newly minted banner of Fleisher’s Craft Butchery – including three current butcher shops and four new shops in the pipeline, a new upstate-NY farm co-op, a Brooklyn-based USDA processing facility, a sustainable restaurant, a thriving restaurant wholesale business, and multiple consumer packaged goods products in development – Ryan is trying to turn the local/ethical food trend into a sustainable way of life.
After apprenticing with Fleisher’s Pasture-Raised Meats, Ryan left a consulting career in 2011 to launch Craft Butchery in Westport, CT. As head butcher he quickly grew the old-fashioned butcher shop into a profitable and responsible business that is an integral part of the Connecticut food system. Recognizing that the business needed scale and logistics in order to effectively connect small producers with rapidly expanding demand, Ryan brokered several strategic partnerships and a merger with Fleisher’s Pasture-Raised Meats in 2014. Ryan is currently CEO of the newly recapitalized, recommitted, and re-named “Fleisher’s Craft Butchery”, which is one of the largest producers and retailers of ethically-raised beef, pork, lamb and poultry on the east coast.
Previously, Ryan spent ten years working in banking and management consulting with JP Morgan Chase and Charles River Associates. He received a BBA from The University of Michigan in 2000, and a Masters Degree in Mathematics Education from Pace University in 2006.
Marsha McBride, Cafe Rouge
In 1982, Marsha McBride enrolled in the California Culinary Academy to become a pastry chef. She found a new interest with meat, which led her to open a café and meat market in Berkley in 1996 called, Café Rouge. Using her skills as head of charcuterie of nine years with Zuni Café, she opened up a butcher shop within the restaurant. Many of her recipes are found in Gourmet and Bon Appetit Magazine. Food and Wine magazine has named her one of the Top 10 New Chefs.
Aaron Winters, Hog And Hominy
Winters began experimenting with sausage making and curing while working as an executive for retail brands throughout the country. After leaving corporate life, Winters staged with chefs Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman for over a year. Soon after opening Hog & Hominy, the chefs promoted Winters to head Sous Chef of the award winning restaurant. Winters has continued his education in butchering, including stages at Pesche, with David Newman at the University of North Dakota, and a month long stage in Italy with Dario Cecchini. He will lead the new butcher shop under Ticer and Hudman, Porchellino’s.
Rob Lucier, Johnson & Wales University is a chef and educator currently teaching at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, RI. He is dedicated to awakening new culinarians to the exciting things happening in the food world today and to teaching the truth about the meat industry.
Danny Johnson, Taylors Market
Taylor’s Market Butcher Danny John- son is a 1982 graduate of the Oregon Meat Cutting School. He started working at Taylor’s on May 2nd 1983 and became part owner in October of 1987. In January 2007 Danny and his wife Kathy became sole owners of Taylor’s.Danny continues to educate himself about the world of meat and butchering by travelling and stopping at every butch- er shop he can find. Meat Cutting is not something that can be taught in a 3 hour course, the “basics” yes, but it is an ongoing education and evolution. Danny is encouraged by the growing interest in whole carcass butchery, an artfom which was nearly lost due to mainstream grocers. Whole carcass butchery has always been the art of Taylor’s Market.Danny’s philosophy is, “A good butcher should know how to feed the animal, eat the animal, and everything that has to be done between those two points”.
Brandon Harpster, Single Barrel Restaurant
Brandon Harpster is a Chef-Instructor at Southeast Community College and the Executive Chef for Single Barrel Restaurant in Lincoln, NE. He is a chef/butcher who has embraced his Nebraska heritage and utilizes the amazing local meats that are being produced in his own backyard. He is a passionate chef that regularly preaches the “gospel” of heritage pork to his students and to his customers in the restaurant. He teaches whole animal utilization in a real world setting at the college. The Single Barrel restaurant menu is driven by Nebraska ingredients and utilizing the entire pig and the best beef Nebraska has to offer.
Jon Gonzales, El Dorado Meat Collective
Jon Gonzales is the founding member of the El Dorado Meat Collective (EMC), a traveling butchery and short-course, hands-on meat preparation educator, working collaboratively with freelance, professional BG butchers. The EMC provides instruction in whole-animal butchery, transformation and preservation techniques. After having worked in Tuscany Italy with various Norcino families (artisans) and attending technical classes in California and the Mid-West (meat science) Jon wanted to share his passion with others. The EMC aims to bring citizens together in small groups, breaking down whole animals communally, discussing sustainability (sadly how meat has become a commodity) and our choices in becoming part of a more sustainable food system respecting the soil, the animals and farmers without whom we undoubtedly fail mother earth. The EMC is also an epicurean adventure offering a variety of opportunities for “foodies” to learn and collaborate. Jon leads trips for very small groups interested in the Italian countryside, slow food ways, and learning with artisans of products, meat and cheese. He is also co-founder of Slow Food Gold Country in the El Dorado County area, North of Sacramento.
Chef John Fink founded The Whole Beast in San Francisco as a way to celebrate the art of cooking over ﬁre a whole animal that has been humanely grown and prepared in a holistic manner, paying special attention to animal husbandry.Chef John Fink is a 43 year-old San Francisco-based chef with over 20 years of experience cooking for top restaurants including Aqua, Postrio, Ondine and Silks Restaurant, L’Orangerie and Kuleto Estate Winery in Napa. John is a graduate of the Cordon Bleu in Canada. During college he supported himself by ﬁshing commercially for scallops, tuna and swordﬁsh in the North Atlantic and pursued commercial ﬁshing further in Alaska, obtaining his Able Bodied Seaman license.Drawing on his ﬁshing days, John’s food preparation starts from the very beginning – how the animal is raised. John personally visits each farmer and tours their facilities, asking how and where the animals spend their day, what they are fed, where they sleep and how they are ﬁnished, walking in each farmer’s footsteps.
Bilal Aslam is a culinary student at the Art Institute of Washington. He aspires to pursue ventures in whole animal butchery and food service, which also promote the humane treatment of animals, in compliance with the Islamic guidelines for Halal meat. He seeks to provide access to delicious, wholesome, fresh, humanely raised and slaughtered meat that is both spiritually and physically nourishing to his community, while hoping to inspire others to do the same.
Sutter Meats is owned and operated by the husband and wife team of Terry and Susan Ragasa. Terry brings several years of industry experience including an invaluable apprenticeship with Master Butcher Joshua Applestone of Fleisher’s Grass Fed and Organic Meats in the Hudson Valley of New York. Under Josh’s tutelage, Terry studied all aspects of traditional butchery and learned the importance of sustainable sourcing for quality and taste. After his apprenticeship, Terry went on to ply his trade in New York City where he developed the first whole animal butchery program in Fort Greene Brooklyn, and helped to open a green grocer and butchery in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. Susan, who after more than a decade of managing a team of print production professionals at Christie’s Auction House in New York City, was craving meaningful, community-supporting work. Inspired by the writing of Wendell Berry, she made a life change and went to work at the very same butcher shop where Terry got his start. She brings her experience in management and butchery to tackle the unique logistical challenges of running an independent butcher shop.