NOLA Cochon555 Cutting Competition
Glenn Mistich vs Bryan Butler
Saturday, May 28. The Foundry
, New Orleans
Bryan is a child of rural America; born and raised in Waco Texas by a paperhanger and a seamstress. He has always had a passion for food. Growing up he spent much of his time in his family’s kitchens. Bryan could have easily followed this passion into a career as a cook or chef, but involvement in his high school FFA program drew him towards a different path. Bryan learned animal husbandry, breed judging and standards by caring and handling show animals. Bryan earned his associates degree in meat fabrication and market management in 1996 from Texas State Technical College.
Bryan’s first job as a butcher was at a small Mom and Pop shop in Waco. After moving to Austin, he began working in a market with some very seasoned butchers, and continued his apprenticeship to becoming a journeyman cutter. Working with a older generation of butchers from another era was a blessing for Bryan. For the last 10 years of his career, Bryan has been the neighborhood butcher in Austin. First working for Fresh
Plus Grocery Stores and then later at Wheatsville Food Co-op where he had his first opportunity to run his own department. This was a defining moment for Bryan, being able to work hand in hand with local ranchers and producers allowed him to support his community and sustainable agriculture in central Texas. Bryan was able to link responsible customers with local ranchers raising fine grass-fed and pastured meats. In his own words “It was a chance to work in and have a positive impact in the meat industry. To sell food free of antibiotics and hormones, raised by real people and not factories”.
Recently Bryan has joined Salt and Time Salumi as partner and master butcher. Salt & Time is the first artisan producer of European style dry cured meats in Texas and is in the process of opening a butcher shop and delicatessen. Salt an Time sources its meats from local farmers, continuing Bryan’s history of support. In 2010, Bryan took a master butcher class taught by Christoph Weisner, President of the Austrian Mangalitza Breeders Association. Bryan considers Christoph to be a mentor. The class covered the art of seam butchery, a traditional form of butchery typically only found in Europe, and especially useful when preparing meat for dry curing. Bryan immediately absorbed this technique and deftly applies it to produce exceptional dry-cured meats.
Bryan’s career has spanned high production retail markets, to “swinging meat” full service meat counters, and now a much slower paced world of dry-cured meats.
Gourmet Butcher Block is a Cajun specialty meat market established in 1994. The owners are Leah Hebert Mistich and Glenn Mistich. Leah was raised in the food industry as a little girl. Her parents opened a restaurant, Soop’s,in Maurice, LA, established in 1974, where they started serving
de-boned stuffed chickens as plate lunches. Customers started asking to bring the de-boned stuffed chickens home to cook for themselves. Two of her brothers, Jr. and Sammy Hebert decided to open a meat market, Hebert’s Specialty Meats, next door to Soop’s Restaurant in 1984.
Glenn was a fishermen growing up. After meeting his wife he eventually moved to Maurice and began working with her brothers. After six years of Glenn working at Hebert’s, him and Leah moved to Belle Chasse, LA and opened Gourmet Butcher Block in Terry Town, LA. After three months of opening the doors the couple’s business, the local TV personality, Frank Davis, featured Gourmet Butcher Block on a segment of Naturally N’Awlins. Once the business began getting recognized, they outgrew their location and moved to a building in Gretna, LA.
In 1997, Glenn introduced sport’s analyst, John Madden, to the Turducken when Bob Delgerno invited Glenn to the Saints vs. Rams game in the Superdome. The next day, John Madden called Glenn and said that he really loved the Turducken. Then the Turducken was chosen to be the official food for the “All-Madden Team”. Gourmet Butcher Block was mentioned during the Super Bowl several times after that. Since then, Gourmet Butcher Block has been on The Food Network, WWL TV, WDSU TV 6, Fox, and Best Damn Sports Show Period; newspaper articles in the Food, Money, and Living sections of Times-Picayune. Gourmet Butcher Block also appeared in New York Times, USA Today, Columbus Disbatch, Gambit Weekly, Down the Road Magazine, and many others. Now Gourmet Butcher Block is at 2144 Belle Chasse Highway, in Gretna, LA in which the building size is now three times from when it started.
Gourmet Butcher Block specializes in de-boned stuffed chickens and turkeys, Fowl De’ Cochon, Turducken, stuffed pork chops, stuffed duck, stuffed rabbit, stuffed quail, baby back ribs, country style ribs, spare ribs, fresh Turducken sausage, fresh chicken sausage, fresh pork sausage, fresh Italian sausage, fresh mixed sausage, andoullie, fresh pork boudin, stuffed pork roast, stuffed mini pork roast, stuffed boneless pork loin, pork tenderloin, stuffed brisket, stuffed eye of round roast, stuffed sirloin tip roast, stuffed rolled round stake, chicken ka-bobs, pork ka-bobs, beef ka-bobs, filet migon, boneless and bone-in rib-eyes, hamburger patties, chicken patties, shrimp etouffee, shrimp dressing, crawfish etouffee, crawfish dressing, potato stuffing, oyster dressing, rice dressing, cornbread dressing, broccoli casserole, sausage stuffing, shrimp and corn soup, crawfish and corn soup, chicken and andoullie gumbo, stuffed crab, stuffed catfish, stuffed jalapenos, stuffed bell peppers, stuffed shrimp, crab meat augratin, crawfish pie, stuffed potatoes, crawfish stuffed potatoes, stuffed artichoke, chicken salad, shrimp salad, bread pudding, fresh frozen vegetables, gift boxes, and gift certificates. Most of the meats come with simple cooking instructions.