CRISPY BITS

With her small range of high-qual­ity char­cu­terie, Han­nah Miller is mak­ing a name for her­self as A Lady Butcher.

Cuisine - - CONTENTS - THOMAS HEATON

Restau­rant open­ings, ar­ti­sans, new prod­ucts, events and more

CHAR­CU­TERIE CAME ABOUT as a means of preser­va­tion, but the art it­self has been pre­served for its flavour. The rea­son we love this kind of meat is be­cause of the fer­men­ta­tion that hap­pens as the meat steeps in its en­vi­ron­ment. The fi­nal prod­uct un­leashes meaty, umami flavours upon the palate and has us go­ing back for more.

When en­vis­ag­ing the artist who puts such de­lights to­gether, one couldn’t be blamed for pic­tur­ing a thick-wristed butcher – Bill, per­haps, or is it Roger? Not the maker of th­ese meaty treats – they come from the more del­i­cate hands of Han­nah Miller. “I’m not try­ing to be as good as the men,” Han­nah says. “I’m try­ing to be my­self.”

Orig­i­nally from Port­land, Ore­gon, Han­nah has been mak­ing her bre­saola (cured beef ), capi­cola (also called coppa, made from pork neck), and pancetta (cured pork belly) out of the kitchen of Apero in cen­tral Auck­land for just a few months. Go­ing by the name A Lady Butcher, she has al­ready at­tracted the at­ten­tion of some top chefs, and her prod­ucts are on the menu at Apero now – see page 113 for a recipe with her wagyu bre­saola.

The 31-year-old started her ca­reer as a chef, spend­ing 10 years in kitchens in Aus­tralia, Ber­muda, New York and Lon­don. It was in the Bri­tish cap­i­tal where she picked up her butch­ery skills, at Pater­nos­ter Chop House.

While the Rogers and Bills of the world can lug a car­cass and hack quickly with the cleaver, Han­nah says fe­male butch­ers are be­com­ing sought after for their fi­nesse and at­ten­tion to de­tail.

Han­nah has al­ways been pas­sion­ate about nose-to-tail cook­ery – any waste is an in­sult to the an­i­mal, she says. She’s also mak­ing sure the mileage on those cuts is min­i­mal: “Ev­ery­thing I do is 100 per cent New Zealand. I feel re­ally strongly that New Zealand has some of the best pro­duce in the world. I just want to high­light that stuff.”

Han­nah re­cently rep­re­sented her adopted coun­try, and Neat Meat Pon­sonby, at the World Butch­ers’ Chal­lenge in Aus­tralia, join­ing five other top butch­ers in the Pure South Sharp Blacks.

This no doubt con­trib­uted to the propo­si­tions for her char­cu­terie in­creas­ing by the day, and she’s keen to add other prod­ucts to her range that make use of the rest of the an­i­mal. “There’s a rea­son be­hind each thing I’m do­ing,” she says. face­book.com/al­a­dy­butcher /

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