Kyle AndersonHead Butcher at Renata
Kyle was first introduced to whole-animal butchery as a student at UC Davis. “I thought a butchery class might make me a better cook,” he says. He fell in love with the trade immediately. After graduating, he worked at the UC Davis meat lab as an assistant manager and teacher. After that, Kyle spent a year working for Oregon-based Nicky Farms, where he learned to butcher everything from hazelnut-finished pork to elk and venison. Next up, he set off for Italy to study old-world curing with Dario Cecchini, the butcher made internationally famous in Bill Buford's Heat. Along the way, he also learned about running a business—a skill that set him up to become the head butcher at Block and Board. Today, he is the butcher and charcuterie maker at Renata restaurant in Portland. Lucky for us, Kyle manages to carve out time to teach for the PMC. “I love the organization’s commitment to using whole animals from small farms,” he says. “With so much meat going to large slaughterhouses, people don’t even see whole animals anymore. I love being able to show them what it’s all about.”
Dominique ChapolardButcher, Charcutier, Co-Owner Ferme Baradieu
Dominique Chapolard, along with his three brothers and his wife, Christiane, were PMC founder Camas Davis' first teachers in the art of butchery and charcuterie. Together, Dominique and his family run a small seed-to-sausage pork operation in southwest France. They grow the grain to feed their pigs, they own a cooperative slaughterhouse with other small farmers in the area, they do all the butchery themselves, and they transform their meat into fresh cuts and delicious charcuterie, which they sell at a few outdoor markets each week. They work hard every day, and yet they are willing to let dozens of students each year come in to learn their unique approach. Together, with his friend and colleague Kate Hill, Dominique now travels the world to teach his technique and share his wisdom. We are lucky that he passes through Portland on occasion to don his beret and teach for us. The PMC would never have existed without the inspiration of Dominique and his family.
Levi ColeUrban Homesteader, Hunter, Fisher, Gardener, Cook, Nurse
Levi Cole played a major part in the birth of the Portland Meat Collective. He and Camas met back when Camas was a magazine editor, writing a story about local culinary teacher and Francophile Robert Reynolds (RIP), one of Levi's mentors. Shortly after, Levi invited Camas to his annual pig roast, and then, curiously, Camas started getting this funny idea in her head about France and pigs. He has a knack for getting big ideas into people's heads that then become a reality. Levi, who grew up raising animals for food with his family in Estacada and is a critical-care nurse by day, also has a lot of big ideas. Which explains why, in addition to growing and raising his own food (chickens, bees, vegetables, you get the idea), he also just started his own wine label, is a master gardener, and makes his own cheese and soap, among other things. He is also an excellent teacher. These days, when we can get him away from picking grapes or trimming his fruit trees, we hire him to teach several of our classes.
Camas DavisOwner of Portland Meat Collective, Executive Director of the Good Meat Project, Writer, Meat Thinker
In 2009, Camas Davis, a magazine editor and food writer, traveled to southwest France to study butchery and charcuterie with Kate Hill and the Chapolards. Upon her return, she began working at a local meat counter and founded the Portland Meat Collective with the goal of bringing the kind of transparent, hands-on educational experience she had in France to her community. Camas has learned from many different mentors over the years and now teaches PMC classes on occasion. "Running the PMC means I never grow stagnant, as a teacher and as a lifelong student," Camas says. In 2014, Camas launched the Good Meat Project (GMP), a nonprofit whose mission is to inspire responsible meat consumption and production through experiential education. Camas and the GMP work to spread Meat Collectives across the country and to bring Meat Collective-style education to chefs and farmers as well. She continues to write about her experiences in meat and is the author of Killing It (Penguin Press, 2018), a memoir about her adventures in the world of meat.
Mary Kay GehringChef, Teacher, Baker, Butcher, Charcuterie Maker, Pickler, Forager, Culinary Doyenne
Formerly of Viande Meats and Sausages (now Chop Butchery), Mary Kay Gehring is on a one-woman mission to demystify sausage. “It’s not about just putting all the unwanted stuff into casings,” she explains. “Sausage-making can be incredibly crafted, and you can have control over the ingredients.” In 2009, a mutual acquaintance invited PMC founder Camas Davis over to Mary Kay's house for a sausage-making lesson. It quickly became obvious that Mary Kay was a talented teacher, and a few years into the PMC, Camas asked Mary Kay to take over teaching their sausage classes. Mary Kay shows students the foundations of sausage-making and then sets them free. “I encourage them to think outside the recipe box,” she says. When she’s not leading PMC classes, Mary Kay works as a chef volunteer at the Oregon Food Bank, teaching neighborhood kids how to make sausage. Or, she's busy stocking her cupboards. “I grind my own grain for bread, I culture my own yeast for beer, I make my own pickles,” she says. “The only food I want to eat is food I can create myself.”
Kate HillChef, Teacher, Baker, Butcher, Charcuterie Maker, Author & Owner of the Kitchen at Camont
If Kate hadn't been so game to let PMC founder Camas Davis come over to Gascony in 2009 and study with her and the Chapolards, the PMC most certainly would never have been born. It's probably also safe to say that many other people from around the world owe the birth of something unique and special in their lives to Kate Hill who has, for over 30 years, brought us into her home and her community in France to teach us how to cook real Gascon food. That's what good mentors and teachers do. They see your potential and help you to birth it. "You want to learn about real meat? Come to France!" And they gently nudge you into experiences you never even imagined you'd have. "Let's go learn how to make foie-gras stuffed duck prosciutto, shall we?" Kate is a true connector. Though Kate spends most of her time teaching in France, we are lucky that she is willing to come all the way out to Oregon to teach for the PMC on occasion, usually, with her friend and colleague, Dominique Chapolard. Together, they have created a one-of-a-kind educational series on the art and science of Gascon butchery and charcuterie.
Sean McConahayFishmonger, Retail Merchandiser for Ocean Beauty
Sean has vegetarians to thank for his career in butchery. “I was working at a food coop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, when I was 19 years old, and one day the manager came in and asked if anyone wasn’t afraid of cutting up a chicken,” he says. “Everyone who worked there was a vegetarian, so I stepped up.” He went from cutting up chickens to making sausage from scratch and breaking down whole animals. When he moved to a bigger grocery chain in town, he was assigned to the fish counter. "That’s where they always put the new guy. Everyone hated it because it smelled. But I loved it.” His new skills landed him a a job as assistant seafood manager at a Whole Foods in Portland, and then as a retail merchandiser for Ocean Beauty. “This area is so rich in seafood," Sean says. "I want to teach PMC students how to make the most of that." He especially loves the range of students in our classes. “You get everyone from the vegan who’s venturing into eating fish to the fisherman who wants to get a better yield from his catch. And then there’s always a student who surprises you—the quiet mom who turns out to be the best fish cutter in the room.”
Liam McDermottButcher, Chef
Liam, originally from New York, loves cooking Italian food, primarily from Sicily and Puglia where his family is originally from. He began his culinary career in Brooklyn, NY cooking at Diner and Marlow & Sons, kitchens that were pioneers is in utilizing whole animals. He moved to the kitchen at Roman’s where he spent several years. There, he had the opportunity to work with local ingredients prepared with the same love, care and respect as in the Italian kitchen he grew up with.
With a desire to deepen his knowledge and experience, he began pursuing a career in whole animal butchery in 2014. He spent the winter at The Meat Market in The Berkshires where he learned to break whole animals and gained experience with salumi and charcuterie. He returned to Brooklyn and spent several years working at The Meat Hook working with pasture-raised animals, utilizing whole animals in a way that was very much in line with a traditional, old world approach. After the Meat Hook, he cooked at Hart’s and Cervo’s in New York, before moving to Portland in 2018. In Portland, Liam works at The Nightwood and at the Portland Meat Collective.
Rob RoyHead of Butchery & Charcuterie at Nostrana
After working as sous chef at Assaggio, and then Genoa, Rob moved from Portland to Duluth in 2006 to help a friend open a restaurant. While the restaurant’s build out plodded along he worked at Northern Waters Smokehaus, where he learned to make all forms of charcuterie out of the game the local hunters brought in for processing. After moving back to Portland in 2008, Rob took over the butchery and charcuterie program at Nostrana. Rob also helps to organize and execute Nostrana's annual Maialata at Montinore Estate. A community oriented celebration of the pig, the Maialata brings local pork connoisseurs and educators like Camas Davis and Ned Ludd's Jason French together. Educators pass along their wisdom and participants receive hands-on education in butchery, sausage making, curing, and whole animal utilization. “The Maialata is my dream event. For me, passing along my craft plays a crucial role in continuing my own curiosity and education.” In 2017, the Maialata celebrated its fifth consecutive year by inviting Dario Cecchini, the famous Dante-quoting butcher of Panzano, Italy, to lead the pig breakdown. Soon after, Rob spent six weeks working at Dario’s butcher shop where he gained more experience with steer butchery and the Tuscan good life.
Adam SappingtonButcher, Chef & Co-Owner of Country Cat Dinnerhouse & Bar
When PMC founder Camas Davis began hatching plans for the PMC, she said to Adam Sappington, "So....I want to hold a pig-butchery class, but how the heck do I pull it off?" Adam didn't even blink, seeing as how he'd been breaking down animals in restaurant kitchens for ten years already. "All we gotta do is break down some pigs. No biggie, kid." Adam, chef and co-owner with his wife Jackie of The Country Cat Dinnerhouse & Bar, became the PMC's very first instructor, and he's been a part of the PMC family ever since—at least when he's not appearing on the Food Network, or breaking down a lamb in front of thousands of people or writing a cookbook. “That first class was in an old dilapidated barn,” Adam remembers. “We were working at a wobbly folding table that was at crotch height—not ideal. But that didn’t slow us down.” He was fascinated by the students the PMC attracted. “I realized I could share this with people from all walks of life,” he says. “I could have done butchery classes for anyone, but the PMC's philosophy just matched my own. It’s about helping people understand why whole-animal butchery is important—on a restaurant level, on a wholesome level, and on a humane level. We’re helping people be better carnivores.”
Sarah SchneiderNightwood Society Kitchen Queen & Butcher
Sarah Schneider got her start in the kitchen as a teen. After finishing culinary school in Portland, Sarah worked in groundbreaking kitchens from San Francisco to New York City. She also traveled the world as a chef on a cruise ship. During the course of her kitchen work she began learning whole animal butchery and charcuterie and eventually landed a job at Marlow & Daughters in New York City. In 2015, Sarah returned to Portland and took her place in the kitchen at Renata as sous chef and butcher before moving on to become the Nightwood Society's Kitchen Queen and resident butcher in 2017. When Sarah isn't teaching PMC classes, she's helping run them, and cooking up delicious food for our end-of-class feasts.
Hank ShawHunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook, Podcaster, Writer, Butcher, Forager
Hank is such a good writer, we'll just let him tell you about himself. "I write. I fish. I dig earth, forage, raise plants, live for food, and kill wild animals. I drink Balvenie, Barolo, or Budweiser with equal relish, and sometimes wish I owned a large swath of land I could play on. I spend my days thinking about new ways to cook and eat anything that walks, flies, swims, crawls, skitters, jumps—or grows. I am the omnivore who has solved his dilemma." We wish Hank was our neighbor so we could knock on his door every day and ask him for a taste of the morels he just found, or pressure him to slice into the wild duck prosciutto he's got hanging in his basement. Alas, he lives in Northern California. But when Hank does swing through town, he always has a good reason to teach a class—often because he's got yet another book coming out. Yes, in addition to hunting, fishing, and growing or foraging for his own food, Hank is a writer. You can find his words on his prolific Hunter, Angler, Gardner, Cook website, and in his three published cookbooks. He is also a podcast host, a darn good butcher, and a very talented cook. We are still dreaming about the duck gizzard gumbo he fed us once.
Tracy SmarciarzButcher, Owner of Heritage Meats
Owner of Heritage Meats Tracy Smaciarz is an unlikely hero in the butcher community. It’s not that he doesn’t have the pedigree—he comes from a long line of butchers, and he grew up slaughtering cows and stuffing sausage—but he never intended to carry on the family tradition. “I hated it,” he says. “Absolutely hated it.” For years he stayed as far from the industry as possible, but when his dad retired in 1997, he grew to love the work—and he’s been at it ever since. In addition to running a thriving USDA plant and wholesale and retail business in Rochester, Washington, Tracy works to help independent small farmers market their meat to local restaurants and retail locations. And lucky for the PMC, he manages to squeeze in beef classes for us a few times a year. “I love bringing students a reality and truth about meat cutting that I don’t know they get to see that often,” he says. “Beef classes are the real deal." Tracy has also taught venison, lamb, and pig butchery for the PMC.
Sarah WongCulinary Instructor
After spending 16 years in the food industry, Seattle Meat Collective co-founder and former owner and former Seattle Culinary Academy instructor Sarah Wong couldn’t ignore a strange truth when it came to meat: It almost always came out of a box, pre-cut. Very rarely did she see the whole animal that it came from. Five years ago, wanting to change the way she approached meat education, she took matters into her own hands and went to France to study with Kate Hill and the Chapolards, followed by more whole-animal butchers from around the world. “When you see the whole process from start to finish, you have a lot more respect for whatever that ingredient is—whether it’s a goat or a head of lettuce,” she says. These days, Sarah stays busy as a culinary teacher at Westview Highschool in Beaverton, Oregon. We are so lucky to have Sarah teaching butchery, cookery, and charcuterie for the PMC, where she wows students with her deft hand at butchery and her knowledge on the history of the subject. She’s equally wowed by her students. “It’s fun to watch them go from tentatively holding the knife to cutting up the animal,” she says. “By the end of the class, they’re exhausted, but they’re so jazzed. I love that.”