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Cole Ward

Cole Ward grew up in the tiny Vermont town of Sheldon Springs. At the age of fourteen he began working part-time for a local butcher, washing meat trays and stuffing sausages for 20 cents a hour. At fifteen, he became an apprentice meat cutter at the local IGA, and in very few years was a master butcher specializing in whole-animal culinary butchery. In his early twenties, wanderlust took him out west to a job at LaFrieda Prime Meats at Los Angeles's celebrated farmers' market. The famous butcher shop was next to CBS studios, and Ward's celebrity clients soon included Billy Crystal, Bernadette Peters, Perry Como, Edith Head, and Raymond Burr. He also did meat props and special set-ups for television sitcoms like Three's Company.

In 1982, Cole returned to Vermont, where most of his large family lives. He worked in markets and supermarkets around the state, managed meat departments, and eventually began giving workshops and doing on-farm cutting. Now Cole mixes hands-on butchering with teaching; his encyclopedic knowledge of the meat sector makes him a sought-after lecturer and seminar leader at culinary academies, colleges, and agricultural and sustainable-living conferences. His full butchery course was recently released on the two DVD set The Gourmet Butcher. With the publication of this book, he is sharing the knowledge acquired over forty-five years of butchering. He is convinced that the more people know about where their meat comes from, the more control they will have over their own and their family's health.

    Cole's Upcoming Events

    • Cole Ward at Sterling College
      16 Sterling Dr, Craftsbury Common VT
      June 24, 2014, 12:00 pm

      Cole will instruct a two-day pig workshop at Sterling College on June 24 and 25. More details to come...

    • Cole Ward at Chef Contos Kitchen and Store
      Chef Contos Kitchen and Store, Shelburne VT
      June 28, 2014, 10:00 am

      Coming to this class? Get ready for a good time! Cole Ward is one of the funniest people and clearly the most talented butcher I have ever laid eyes on. Break down ½ local pig Make 5 different sausages Everyone goes home with some pork goods Includes Lunch! Participants will also receive 30% off Cole's new book. Cost: $225 -

    • Cole Ward at The James Beard House
      167 West 12th Street, New York NY
      July 23, 2014, 12:00 pm

      Cole will speak about the ethical and sustainable sourcing of meat for the JBF's Enlightened Eaters Series on Wednesday, July 23rd from Noon-1:00pm. Copies of his new book, "The Gourmet Butcher's Guide to Meat" will be available for sale and signing.

    Cole's Books

    The Gourmet Butcher's Guide to Meat (with CD)

    How to Source it Ethically, Cut it Professionally, and Prepare it Properly

    The Gourmet Butcher’s Guide to Meat demystifies the process of getting meat to the table. Its wide scope will be welcome to those who not only wish to learn the basics of butchery, but also want to understand how meat animals are raised, slaughtered, and marketed as part of a holistic system that honors animals and consumers.

    Vermont-based master butcher Cole Ward delivers a comprehensive guide to whole-animal butchery that goes well beyond conventional “do-it-yourself” books and takes readers inside the world of truly sustainable meat production.

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