From the Sacramento Butcher's Block
We’re excited to have Paul Carras on board as our Sacramento Butcher correspondent leading up to the 2020 World Butchers’ Challenge, to be held in his home town. Keep an eye on the blog for his regular updates and if you have any specific questions about the beautiful city he lives in, let us know and we’ll pass it on.
My journey as a butcher began in January of 1996. I was hired as a cleanup boy for the meat department at Taylor's Market in Sacramento, California. I can still smell the fresh sawdust on the wood floors which I would sweep for the next two and a half years. When I turned eighteen, I was given two knives and finally began cutting meat. The first things I was taught was how to sharpen a knife, always staying clean and always having fresh and consistent grind in the counter. From there, I learned to cut chuck steaks and calves liver practicing the importance of making sure every cut was even. I learned how to butcher while completing high school, junior college and graduating from Sacramento State University.
As years passed, I kept learning from my teacher - and now fellow teammate and friend - Danny Johnson and educating myself as much as I could. I've been very fortunate to have participated in many butchery competitions, as well as judging them. I've been involved in countless demonstrations over the years and find a true gratification in teaching many classes throughout the year.
I first heard about the World Butchers’ Challenge in early 2017. A fellow colleague told me about it at work one morning and I thought to myself how cool it would be to compete in one day. Never did I think I would have had a chance to compete in it. It was Danny who encouraged me to be a part of it, as him and I strongly encouraged each other. So here we are now - teammates and members of the Butchers Of America for the United States.
It was great to witness the craft of butchering being showcased at such a high level. It is one thing to be a great butcher but to perform at the highest level with all of the cameras, judges, audience and loud noises is not for every butcher. It takes experience and discipline to compete in this situation.
Since returning home from Belfast things have definitely been interesting. Business has been at a all time high with many questions from old and new customers. My thirst for more knowledge and inspiration grows stronger by the day. I enjoy being a butcher for the simple reason that this trade embodies something new every day. This craft can be daunting at times but with patience and persistence it is beautiful. Butchering is an art and this craft bodes well with those who are willing to make mistakes and quickly learn from them.
When I found out that the World Butchers’ Challenge will be held here in Sacramento in 2020, I was overjoyed with emotion. This is such a big opportunity for Sacramento to show case all the great things that are happening in this wonderful city. The biggest excitement I get is thinking about all the butchers who will be visiting Sacramento and the looks on their faces when the walk into the Golden One Center.
- Paul Carras, Taylor’s Market and Butchers of America team member