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Teaching the lost art of butchery

Minga workshop attracts people from all walks of life

Butchering a pig is a lost art for a large segment of the population and reconnecting people to that skill was the focus of a weekend workshop at Artisanale restaurant.

“You need practical experience with something like this,” said butcher and instructor Wesley Clarke. “There is a growing interest from people about what they are eating every day.”

Ami Dehne owner of the Minga Skill Building Hub organized The Art of Butchery workshop.

“We offer all kinds of workshops — butchery, cheese making, brewing, baking, knitting,” said Dehne. “Many of these skills are being lost and we are trying to keep them alive.”

Clarke works for a high-end butcher in Toronto

“I started my trade in Montreal then I moved to Toronto,” he said. “I got involved with Minga through a mutual friend.”

He was happy to show people at the workshop how to identify and prepare various cuts of pork.

“The industry has become more segmented,” he said. “A lot of young people are returning to tradition so, the trade is coming back.”

The workshop participants came from a variety of backgrounds. Tonia von Hugo and her husband own a farm near Breslau.

“We raise pigs, chickens and sheep on our farm,” she said.  “I want to learn more about this kind of thing.”

Steve Robinson is an arborist for the City of Hamilton

“I hunt and I want to learn more about butchering the animals I hunt,” he said. “My wife and I want to connect more with our food.”

Other participants included physician Patrick Otto and retiree David Wilson.

“I love to eat and cook and this has been a great way to learn,” said Otto.

“I am a food enthusiast,” said Wilson. “This is a great way to learn and understand where our food comes from.”

Jeremy Ennis is a sommelier that works at Langdon Hall in Cambridge.

“I have a general interest in food,” he said. “I have been buying local chicken and I am looking to expand to larger animals.”

He brought some of his own expertise to the workshop.

“I recommend you pair the fatty cuts of pork with a nice Riesling,” he said.

The next Minga workshop, a natural soap-making lab on Nov 6, is sold out but there are still spots available for the following soap-making lab on Jan 15.