Butchers of Italy: The Revolution
One of our talented Italian butchers, Andrea Laganga has launched his new blog website and it’s destined to become one of your new favourite bookmarks. Check it out here and make sure to sign up for all his latest updates. Below we share one of Andrea's blog posts around the identity of the butcher. Thanks for allowing us to share Andrea.
Three-button jacket, name embroidered on the chest, tattoos and axe on the shoulder. Are you ready for the Butcher of Italy revolution?
Lady butcher, good butcher, master butcher - there are a number of terms we can use to explain what a butcher of today is. And there are plenty who have a desire to change the definition of what and who a butcher truly is.
The Butcher Revolution. Be the Change.
Perhaps the first to introduce the idea, that we should become known as butchers instead of the Italian term ‘macellaio’, must be attributed to the great Papotti and his crew of the ‘Butchers for Children’ - a group of colleagues and friends with a common goal in mind, to put together their know-how for the benefit of those who will come after them.
Why did they introduce the term butcher?
With this name they wanted everyone to understand they were creating something new, weaving a network of professional friendships that until now could not even be imagined. The right way to tell everyone that something inside the butcher was changing, including name.
If we are asked to describe the ‘macellaio’, unfortunately it will still be associated with macabre images, with dirty gowns and unhygienic wrappings in sheets of newspaper. For us industry experts, instead, with melancholy we regret that connection, without denying what we have been because we came from here. But for us to truly change and become known as ‘butchers' we must live the change fully.
The Butcher of Today.
Our parents would never have dreamed of hanging a sign at the door of the shop that reads "Closed - At a course". Today, it has become a normality and an indispensable requirement for growth and for truly becoming a butcher. Cooking classes - to best enhance the cuts that only we know, communication courses - to better explain what we do, foreign culture courses - to be ready to respond to the fusion requests of customers never satisfied with traditional dishes, and self-controlled courses - to ensure we don't commit massacres in the store!
This moment of change of identity has already been experienced in the '90s by the category of chefs. Years in which Italian cuisine wanted to show the whole world that it was not just about feeding people. But that the focus of their profession was more intense 'to create emotions through food', thus differentiating itself from simple cooking.
Remember one thing.
It is not enough to call ourselves butchers instead of macellaio - to instigate change. Facing it, means first of all knowing the story and having the crazy desire to never stop asking questions.
Study, trial and specialise in something... the ‘all-rounder’ does not exist... Only in this way, will the others be able to call you a butcher. You can always introduce yourself as a butcher, but others will decide whether to call you a butcher.
Dear colleagues, what do you think of this change? I wait for your comments and welcome you to the ‘Butcher community’.
- Andrea Laganga, Italy