Charlotte Mitchell, 32, runs a butcher’s shop, Charlotte’s Butchery, in Gosforth, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Here she tells Emily Ashworth about her journey into the profession, and how it is a sector which needs more passionate people to get involved.
My mum, Gill, is an agricultural consultant and we have sheep farmers in the family too.
When I was a student, I needed a part time job, so my mum pulled some strings and got me a job in a butcher’s in York, and I became fascinated by the trade and thoroughly loved it.
All of it.
When you are working behind the counter of a shop, you are on the front line having to answer any question the customer might throw at you. I love talking to our customers about what their dinner plans are and helping them decide which cut of meat is right for them. I love the rhythm of the working week and how people change what they fancy eating.
I think what the industry lacks is passion - we need people who are excited about where their food comes from whether they are male or female. It is still a male dominated industry, but women are gradually entering the trade.
At the time I had a degree so I did not qualify for an apprenticeship, so I managed to get various jobs in different butcher’s shops and then I was approached on Twitter to move to London and work for O’Shea’s, and then on to Lidgate’s in Holland Park. I was able to learn a lot and ask lots of questions - probably really annoying questions - and work with people from all over the world.
In January 2013, a shop was up for sale in Newcastle. I was still working in London at the time and was looking to move back to the North East. I saw the shop advertised online and came to have a look and I loved the spot and the row of shops on the street. So, I got a start-up loan and took it from there.
We use a local abattoir who use local farms. We work closely so we can make sure we get the quality we need with as little waste as possible. Using as much of the carcass as possible is really important to us, from making our own beef dripping, haggis, black pudding, to stock pots.
Of course. My brother and I have been running the shop for over 7 years and it just gets better all the time.
I think so. Obviously, there is so much in the media about veganism at the moment, and it can be disheartening but the truth of the matter is if we are to eat food with low food miles we have to continue eating meat.