Best of SVG award a boost to butcher’s business
RICHARD ALLAN GIBSON, owner of Midway Butchers, boasts of being the only professional butcher in St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
Gibson is the winner of the 2018 Best Butcher award in the Best of SVG competition. He has been plying his trade at Lowmans Hill for the last 10 years, but has been a butcher for over 58 years, having learnt his trade in England after leaving SVG on August 4, 1960.
“It gave me a lot of prestige especially among the foreign people that use my services…it is a tremendous boost to my trade so I am very pleased with the results,” Gibson said of winning the 2018 Best Butcher award.
He added, “the award shows they are very happy that I am here so that I can give them the choice cuts they need”.
Gibson in a recent interview made a few controversial statements, including that he considers himself the only professional butcher in the country and that all other persons in the profession are more meat cutters than butchers.
“There are different categories of butchering. A lot of people chop meat and sell it to the housewives, they are not butchers, they are meat cutters. We are the only professionals in St Vincent and the Grenadines that can provide all the cuts you need,” Gibson told SEARCHLIGHT recently while adding that a lot of foreigners who live here come to him to get the cuts of the meat that they get in their home countries.
“They would bring the pictures of what they want, and I would get these cuts. I provide all the top-quality meat, aged meat,” Gibson said.
The experienced butcher explained that animals that are killed for their meat should not be eaten the same day. He said by doing that, the real flavour of the meat is not brought out.
“…Because it has too much blood and the enzymes have not been broken down, so the meat is not tenderized but that is the meat that is sold here, killed today and eaten today. My meat is hanging up to two to three weeks and longer for special occasions,” explained Gibson who noted that his meat is aged in a cold room (set at 34 degrees), not a freezer.
Gibson notes that he learnt his trade at big meat companies in England and in 1977 opened his own meat shop in Surrey where he serviced the upper echelons of society. He said when he closed shop, he did so because of three things: the mad cow disease that threatened the meat business in the UK, the fact that he felt he had had enough of butchering and his children were already grown, university educated and working.
“We use to deliver meat to Windsor Castle and Windsor Great Park…it got to a stage where I had enough but when I came home to retire, I came back to relax, but after a few months I could not relax and wanted something to do, so I opened this shop because people asked me to,” Gibson said, explaining his business move from Surrey to Lowmans Hill.
The 76-year-old said that he is now looking for someone to train with the understanding they would carry on the business, but no one is stepping forward.
“The butcher trade is a good thing, you advise on cooking, you advise on recipes and you have to be friendly to your customers. You have to talk to customers and any little help you can give them. You also have to be confidential so they come to trust you,” said Gibson adding that a butcher is someone that feeds families.
“You have to trust your butcher and a butcher must be honest. You are not in it for a quick dollar, you in it for the long term,” said the man who prides himself on butchery.
He added during the interview, “I am hoping that persons who practice butchery can come and learn from me…but they are not coming. You have to love your trade.”
Midway Butchers, apart from selling pork, beef, mutton and chicken, also sells homemade sausages and burgers and other meat products.