Insights from...

Insights from Sam Canning - My Apprenticeship (Part 1)

I often think back to my Butcher's apprenticeship. At the time, it felt like it was never going end. Four years is a really long time when you are 17.

For the first year of my apprenticeship, I wasn't allowed to touch a knife. Making mince, making sausages and cleaning trays formed the basis of my employment. I clearly remember staring into the mincer for hours on end and making jokes about how I was going to die of old age, chained to the mincer. I remember observing the qualified butchers working on the benches and thinking to myself - "when will that be me?".

After years of relentless 70+ hour weeks, my time came. I slowly earned myself more and more time on the bench and worked closely with two amazing butchers. Nino (who is now the owner of Trialto Meats in Elsternwick) and Andrew (who is now the owner of Chelsea Meats).

Nino was an absolute gun on the bench. A complete powerhouse of a tradesman who would smash through huge volumes of work in a relatively short amount of time. Nino taught me how to push with tireless energy. One pace - all day. Go, go, go. Andrew, on the other hand, had a certain level of grace and finesse in the way he worked and an easy-going charm on the counter (when serving customers).
These guys instilled in me what would now be considered as "old-school" work ethic. I am ever grateful to Nino and Andrew for sharing their wisdom with me and although I'm not on the knives much these days, I certainly wouldn't be where I am today without them.

- Sam Canning

South City Meats 1998