White Gold Butchers wants to take the mystery out of meat.
The new Upper West Side butcher shop and restaurant is all about transparency — from where its beef, pork, lamb and poultry come from to how they prepare it.
And this month, it is launching classes to further educate its customers.
“Education plays a really big role in what we do as butchers,” said Erika Nakamura, who co-owns the shop with Jocelyn Guest. “It’s intimidating for a lot of people. Folks don’t know a lot about meat, it’s kind of a mystery.”
Classes were a big part of Nakamura’s previous venture, Lindy & Grundy’s Meats in West Hollywood, California, and the two-month-old White Gold always planned to have them, too.
“Part of what we do I think as a new-wave butcher shop is we want to do things out in the open and show people what we do, and that there isn’t much of a mystery behind it,” Nakamura said.
White Gold’s classes kick off Jan. 15 with sausage making ($100), during which students will learn how to grind, season, pipe and twist fresh sausage. A second offering, in chicken butchering ($75), covers how to truss (tie with a rope), break down and spatchcock (or butterfly) a bird. Both classes are hands-on, and students leave with their finished product. More advanced classes in whole-pig and beef butchery are also in the works.
“This is to really help folks be more comfortable with ordering their meat and knowing how to prepare it at home, or not asking us to do some of the simpler things that you can do at home,” Nakamura said. “You can have more control over it. I think it connects you [closer] to your food in a really great way.”
The classes will be led most likely by Nakamura or Guest in the butcher shop’s basement kitchen and have up to six students.
“We can keep an eye on everybody and make sure everyone’s being safe,” Nakamura said. “We’re also able to provide the necessary attention in teaching.”
More classes will likely be added throughout the year, such as grilling workshops during warmer weather. The butcher shop will also cater to individual class requests.
“It’s going to be a fun little evolutionary process,” Nakamura said. “We really want to hear what our customers have to say.”
White Gold Butchery is located at 375 Amsterdam Ave. To sign up for classes, visit whitegoldbutchers.com.
Beyond White Gold, here are other places to pick up butchery skills in NYC:
Fleishers: The Brooklyn headquarters of this butcher shop offers hands-on, intro classes in beef and whole-hog butchery, as well as a butcher training program for those looking to really immerse themselves in the craft. $225/class; 175 Van Dyke St., suite 323A, Red Hook, 718-971-5331, fleishers.com
The Brooklyn Kitchen: The recreational cooking school offers a variety of classes geared toward home cooks, including a two-hour pig butchering course with Fleishers. Upcoming classes are scheduled for Jan. 11 and Feb. 9. $150/class; 100 Frost St., Williamsburg, 718-389-2982, thebrooklynkitchen.com
Institute of Culinary Education: The recreational cooking component of this downtown culinary school teaches a range of cooking techniques, including a three-hour knife skills class where you’ll learn how to break down raw chicken and fillet a flounder. Upcoming classes are scheduled for Jan. 19, Feb. 18, March 19, April 9 and June 24. $120/class; Brookfield Place, 225 Liberty St., third floor, 212-847-0700, recreational.ice.edu