Tell us a little about how you became a butcher and what brought you to Avling.
I became a butcher through a serious bit of happenstance. I was living in New York City at the time and working as a theatre actor. While waiting for my next work visa to come through, I was unable to audition for the parts at the level I had reached. At the same time, my wife gave me a ticket for a Sausage Making class at Dickson’s Farmstand Meats as a gift. I loved the class, and after meeting the butchers found out that they offer an internship program. Shortly after starting, I had fallen in love with the craft. Dickson’s is an entirely whole animal butcher shop, and the skill and depth of knowledge needed to take those animals down every possible path to the consumer was an unbelievable thing to be a part of. One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I was one of three butchers at Dickson’s.
Once I moved back to Canada, I started working at Olliffe in Rosedale and really pushed my side hustle. I started doing custom breaking for some hunters that I have met, as well as charcuterie with the wild game they had available. A friend and I started a workshop, Craft Beer Spoke, where we combined craft beer tastings and sausage making in a single class at different craft breweries around Toronto.
All of these interests and skills I had been developing came to a head when I met Max Meighen and heard about what he was looking to create at Avling. I believe he was pretty impressed with the variety of passions I had, and my position was tailored to include as many of my creative outlets as possible. It has turned into a bit of a dream to get to work on all of my crafts in a single position.