Dario Cecchini, perhaps the most famous butcher in Italy, grinned like a little boy as he held onto a huge hindquarter leg of a female cow.
"Most people think of beef as a filet," Cecchini said in Italian as writer Faith Willinger translated his words. "You need to think about everything."
Cecchini did a butchery demo at The International Culinary Center in New York on January 24th. That night, he prepared a five-course meal at Mario Batali's Del Posto restaurant. Cecchini, who is from the village of Panzano in Chianti in Tuscany, came to the United States to stress the importance of artisanal butchering and the use of the whole animal. In the slideshow above, watch him take apart a huge hunk of cow.
I knew about Cecchini as a meat maniac from Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations Tuscany episode. Led to Cecchini by way of Batali's father Armandino Batali, Bill Buford really captured Cecchini's passion for being a butcher in his 2006 memoir Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany.
After watching Cecchini cut a massive leg into pieces, I found myself looking for other places to watch butchery demos. Among them:
Dickson's Farmstand Meats Chelsea Market 75 Ninth Avenue New York, NY 10011 (212) 242-2630
Jeffrey's Meat Market Essex Street Market 120 Essex Street New York, NY 10002 (212) 475-6521
The Brooklyn Kitchen and The Meat Hook 100 Frost Street Brooklyn, NY 11211 (718) 349-5033
While Dickson's Farmstand Meats, Jeffrey's Meat Market and The Brooklyn Kitchen/The Meat Hook offer demonstration-only classes, Fleisher's Grass-fed & Organic Meats in Kingston has hands-on butchery classes.
Fleisher's Grass-fed & Organic Meats 307 Wall Street Kingston, NY 845-338-6666
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