FRENCH PIG: The Butcher and the Cook – A Class

Kate Hill of Kitchen-at-Camont a French culinary retreat in Gascony just sent an email letting me/us know of an upcoming class we can take! Lucky for us we don’t have to travel to France, just the Napa Valley. They scored the kitchen at Fatted Calf, cool huh? She’s traveling with a French pig farmer / butcher, Dominique Chapolard. I don’t know the guy, but after reading the words she sent, this sounds like a must do. She states that the Portland class sold out in only a few days, so if you’re interested, jump.
FRENCH PIG: The Butcher and the Cook
An Evening Workshop of Butchering: French Cuts Butchery Plus Artisan Pork Tasting
Date: April 16, 2010
Time: 6 AM – 10 PM
Location: The Fatted Calf- Oxbow Public Market, Napa CA
Cost: $195
On a small farm in southwest France, Dominique Chapolard and his three brothers grow their own grain to feed their own pigs, eight to ten of which they prepare every week for five local markets. At market, they sell their fresh French cuts, like roti, cotelettes, and longe, along with their housemade charcuterie like saucisson sec, jambon, and fromage de tete. Together with the Chapolard family, Kate Hill, culinary teacher and owner of the Gascon Kitchen, a cooking school located just a short drive away from the Chapolard farm, offers butchery apprenticeships and other learning programs in France.
In April, Kate and Dominique will travel to the United States to share their cooking and butchery knowledge. While in Napa, they’ll join forces with Wil Edwards of the Artisan Food School and the Fatted Calf Charcuterie to offer an evening participatory demonstration master class. In this workshop, Dominique teaches students how to transform a pig into premium French cuts, using seam butchery, a traditional European method of breaking down animals according to their muscle seams, as opposed to cutting through muscle as is often done in many American butchery shops. As Dominique demonstrates on a whole mature carcass, Kate teaches them how to transform basic cuts into traditional French recipes. The class will finish with an artisan pork tasting with Carrie Oliver presenting four different breeds of artisan pork and charcuterie tasting and discussion of full-circle farming methods in France. |Students will go home with a share of the meat butchered in the workshop.
Reserve online at:
Contact: Fattedcalf or Kitchen-at-Camont

Sharpening Serrated Blades Class with Eric E. Weiss

class photos by Tobias 002.jpg
I’ve overheard years and years worth of blather regarding getting your serrated blades sharpened. As far as the general public and uninformed, this cannot happen. Toss and buy new when it becomes no longer “sharp”. What a load of crud. I knew that then and in the last few years can most certainly say, serrated blades can be sharpened!
Yeah but, how’d you like to be able to do that yourself? Really? Really. And Eric is hosting a class to show you exactly how that is done.
Eric has spent his entire life fawning over everything sharp and all that encompasses such things. It’s his passion, his life. Bring any knife, implement from garden to kitchen to military killing items, he’ll go wild eyed and go in to the long history of your item. He’s the go-to guy for anything sharp. And he’s certainly the guy to show you how to sharpen your serrated blade, it’s what he does for a living.
So, if you’re interested in learning how to sharpen your serrated blade, now’s the time to jump in and get learned.

Monday, April 12, 2010
6:30pm – 8:30pm $65.00

Paulding & Company, A Creative Kitchen
1410 D 62nd St., Emeryville, 94608


Eric E. Weiss has taught many classes for people with all levels of sharpening experience from beginning to advanced. In this class, he will teach the skill of sharpening serrated blades. There are many different types of serrations for many different purposes and we will explore a great variety of these.
Please bring two knives (or more), one with small teeth and one with large teeth, and be open to the fact that in the process of learning this skill you will likely scratch or scar your blades, and you may not achieve perfection on your first try. You may want to shop a second hand store for some knives to practice on. We will provide special ‘half-round’ steels for each student and this tool, included in the cost of the class, goes home with you.

xo, Biggles

Fatted Calf – The Class – Whole Hog Butchery & Sausage Making !!!

Where does the time go? If anyone has a clue, or a coupon so I can get a discount on one, let me know.
A few months ago I took Fatted Calf‘s 3rd class, Whole Hog Butchery & Sausage making Part I. It was a last minute deal and headed out.
The class is held in their very own commercial kitchen and butcher shop up in Napa at the Oxbow Market. The classes start at 11am and go until 3pm, plenty of time to get there and plenty of time finish out the day, niiice. The class is limited to 12 people, plenty of room and time for some real hands on instruction. And brother, or sister, you’re getting instruction in butchering and sausage making by one of the top Supreme Poobah Master Butchers of all time. Taylor holds nothing back in procedure, where the ingredients come from or how to bring the recipe together. He shares all and always has, it’s because he cares. Pretty cool, eh?
Okay, so here you are at the Fatted Calf HQ, knife in hand or casing manipulation, how could it get any better? That’s right, they supply the lunch. And this ain’t your grandfather’s continental breakfast at HoJo’s. No ma’am, this is a lunch that fits squarely in Napa’s finest spreads. Wine too! Yeah, it’s like that. But wait, there’s more, oh yes. You get 10% off after the class on whatever they have in the meat case for that day! That’s not enough for Team Fatted Calf though, you get to take with you a generous assortment of the sausages that you made that day!
Okay, I’ll wait while you call (707) 256-3684 to secure your spot in one of their upcoming classes:

All About Duck
Saturday, Sept 26 from 11-3
Saturday, November 14 from 11-3
Whole Hog Butchery Part I
Saturday, October 17 from 11-3
Blood & Guts
Saturday, October 31 from 11-3
Celebrate Decadence: Truffles, Pat챕 & Foie Gras
Saturday, December 5 from 11-3
Saturday, December 12 from 11-3

… okay off the phone?
As you’ve already surmised, this is a Destination Class. Cancel previous plans, rent a car, buy the plane tickets, do what it takes. You need to be in one of these classes, it was that good. Taylor & Toponia are absolutely superb in their abilities as cooks, chefs, hosts & instructors. If you miss out, go ahead and just smack yourelf in the face with a hammer now and get it over with.
xo, Biggles
ps – Please visit Meathenge’s Flickr account for some more grab shots I took of the day.

Knife Sharpening Class with Eric Weiss – Monday, September 21

The holidays are coming up here pretty quickly, they’ll be here before you know it and 2009 will be only memories. Even people who don’t cook much during the year will end up doing duty in the kitchen, gasp. For me, the top dangers in the kitchen are deep frying, making caramel and dull knives. For my outdoor kitchen it’s grilling buck naked, but that’s another story.
Who here takes the time to have their knives professionally sharpened at least twice a year? Raise your hands. Yeah, I didn’t think so, but there’s a few of you. Who here sharpens their own knives? Excellent Chilebrown! Anyone else? There’s a few of you, good.
Listen up, I don’t care what kind of knife you use in the kitchen, it could be a 500+ dollar hand-made Kramer knife or something you found in the basement years ago. No matter who made your knife, it ain’t worth a bag of wet marbles unless it’s sharp. I’ll choose a sharp 15 dollar hardware store kitchen knife over any other dull knife. Here’s your chance to learn how to sharpen your own knives from the Master Knife Sharpener Grand Poobah of All Time, Eric Weiss.
How cool would it be to be able to sharpen your own knives properly? Very cool. And now you have the chance to learn the craft the right way. Register today, time is running out!


Monday, September 21, 2009
6:30pm – 8:30pm $65.00
Paulding & Company, A Creative Kitchen
1410 D 62nd St., Emeryville, 94608
You will be taught to hone your knives to perfection by hand.
A sharpening stone and honing oil is included in the price.
Bring your chef’s knife and paring knife and 1 other.
Eric’s sharpening experience spans over 30 years. Born in England, raised in Germany, his love affair with all things sharp began in boyhood. This devotion grew with him through military service to the Queen, and comes to fruition at Bay Area Farmer’s Markets, Restaurants, Catering Companies, Retail and Private Homes. During this unique hands-on class Eric gladly shares his true wealth of historical, cultural, and scientific knowledge about the blade.
Class details/registration at
Paulding & Co.

xo, Biggles

Meathenge to Fatted Calf to the sharing of meat between father & son

Editors Note: Yeah, confused? I didn’t know how to title this one either. I received this email the other day and was really blown away, I did tear up. We all make jokes, tell “stories” and enjoy the Meaty Lifestyle. But how many of you, and raise your hands, where meat has come in to your life and given you a venue to share the last life & times with a loved one before they pass?
I asked for permission to post this email and to post an image. Please read on and dare to keep a dry eye.

Hey Biggles,
First, I have to say a huge ‘Thank You’ for telling me about subscribing to Toponia’s weekly newsletter for the Fatted Calf a couple years before she and Taylor took the leap and started their operations in Napa. I *so* looked forward to reading her updates and although it wasn’t convenient to hit the SF Farmer’s Market, I knew that one day, I’d get to taste their their products.
Move ahead to a year ago. The Fatted Calf has been running at the Oxbow Public Market for a while, and my dad, who was living in the Yountville Veterans Home was talking to me about Charcuterie and stoking the fires of meat love. I made a promise to create a nice Cheese Board lunch the next weekend, and so, finally stopped by the Fatted Calf for sausage.
Bailey was working the counter, barely two weeks into her start with the ‘Calf. I sampled my way through just about all that was available that week and ended up buying more than a pound of some of the most wonderful sausage I’d had in many, many years. I was sold.
Stopping at the ‘Calf on my way to visit my father became a habit very quickly.
Sadly, my father passed away on April 21st. I thought that I might not head over to Napa so much, but then, I got the heads up from Toponia about their first ever, up-n-coming Basic Pig Butchery and Sausage Making class. Lemme tell ya, I grabbed the phone so fast it set records in three states. I thought it would be a nice way to keep fond memories of hanging out with my dad over exceptional food.
The class was wonderful. Taylor, Toponia and the rest of the crew are fine people indeed. I had such a good time, I’m tempted to volunteer for them sometime.
Thanks so much for sharing your love of meat.
Best to you and yours,
Eidtor’s Note: Please take a moment and hoist a cool refreshing beverage to CM and his father, a moment of silence and respect.

Cavallo Point Cooking School Hosts – Hooves & Tales: A two day celebration of sustainable meat

Whoa! What’s Meathenge posting about such a fancy schmancy place such as Cavallo Point Cooking School for? I mean, they are the cream of the crop. What gives?
You’re right, I don’t normally find myself in such company. However, as it turns out a long-time friend Kelsie Kerr is heading up their culinary department. She had a few questions, I supplied some possible photographs and thought it might be fun to do a post here. Who is Kelsie? She is an amazing woman & highly skilled chef, kind, inspired with a crystal clear vision, and has worked in some pretty amazing places over the years. Ever heard of Zuni Cafe in San Francisco? Yeah, she was a chef there. Cafe Rouge in Berkeley saw her laying the very foundation of what it is today. Chez Panisse was lucky enough to have her in the kitchen for quite a few years. I remember sitting (half snoozin’) on the sofa watching the food network. I thought I heard a familiar voice and looked up to see her preparing some fishy dish with Bobby Flay, go Kelsie !!! After her stay at Chez P., she began a very successful private chef and instructor gig. Have the most important dinner coming up and need someone this good in your kitchen? Kelsie’s your chef.
Now? Yeah, right back where we started. She’s the director at the Cavallo Point Cooking School. Gosh Kelsie, is there anything you can’t do?
But wait, it gets better, no really. Hunker down here and have a listen. Okay, so you know the topic of the class, right? Yeah, yeah. But do you know who she’s recruited as instructors? David Evans of Marin Sun Farms and … and … and the most awesome meat loving pair of all time, Taylor & Toponia of Fatted Calf !!!
Okay, take a deep breath, I’m all giddy. That’s right, this is a world-class happening folks and you need to do whatever it takes to get yourself a spot in this prestigious class. It ain’t going to happen again, this is it. It ain’t cheap, but it’d be worth anything you can do to get yourself a spot.
Please click through for the details.

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Knife Sharpening Class with Eric Weiss – Monday March 2nd

Meathenge Labs did really well through the holidays and the kitchen took a pretty good beating. I noticed some pretty good splashes up against the wall behind the butcher block table, will get those wiped down tonight. The floor, while it did get mopped a few times, is getting a little smoodgy in the corners. I don’t eeeven want to look in the toaster oven’s crumb tray. Note to self, toss in to dishwasher next time along with the vent hood filters. Oh crap, I just remembered while cleaning the fridge I split some of the insulation around the door, damned. I think the stoopid thing is only 4 years old too, dumb Amana. Oh the chores I’ve seen!
Is your kitchen and its inhabitants feeling the same strain? How are your knive’s edges holding up? When you run your steel over them, does it hone right up? Are you one of the rare few who actually takes the time to take them out to get sharpened? Or would it just be easier to pour yourself a large glass of carrot juice and sharpen them yourself? Don’t know how?
Glad you said something! It turns out on Monday, March 2nd he’s holding a knife sharpening class. It’s time to get out of your cave and help the economy a bit. Spend your money well and enroll in Eric’s glass. It’s a good thing to do for yourself and your fellow cave dwellers. Please click through on the link below me here and get the details. Register today!

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San Francisco Knife Skills Class: February 17, 2008

clickie for biggie
My friend and yours, Shuna Lydon, is at long last offering up one of her famous knife skills classes, yay! They don’t come along frequently, so you really should check your calendar and make some room.
“Oh Biggles, I don’t cut myself too often and some of my food comes out just fine, thank you. I don’t want to spend the money or time on some class, boring!”
Wrongo pally, if you only do a little cutting in the kitchen, this will forward you with inspiration to do more, to be more. If you have mad skills in the knifey arena, you can hone in and improve. How awesome would it be to spend a little extra time to supreme that citrus for your special someone? To loll that clean, fresh and bright segment in your mouth without the pith is something everyone should experience. Besides, this isn’t just any skills class. Shuna is exceptionally knowledgeable, concise and there for each and every one of you. If you’re not getting the angle of your steel and blade just right, she can work you through it. She has the time, the care and skill set to carry you through. Besides, she has years worth of professional kitchen stories to share, ain’t that cool?
These don’t come along often, make the time. It’s coming up soon, so don’t delay. Go now and sign up for:
Shuna’s SF Knife Skills Class: February 17, 2008.
Sunday February 17, 2008
What Time?
12 noon- 2:30 pm, give or take 10 minutes
San Francisco, Financial District {exact location disclosed to registered students only}
How Much?
$75 by Paypal, $70 by check
xo, Biggles
ps – I’ve taken 2 of her classes and hosted 1. So there, nyah! I’m better than you …

Knife Sharpening Class with Eric E. Weiss

There are at least 2 kinds of people this time of year, in regards to buying/giving gifts. Some are brilliant, you know who they are. They know how to shop, they do it early and their choices are legendary. Then, there’s my type. Lousy, last minute shoppers who give gifts that just plain blow. This makes both of us feel like dirt for a while. How would you like an easy one? An absolutely awesome gift that for a little outlay will get you ‘in’ with the cool kids.
That’s right, buy your friend, lover, partner or spouse the gift of learning how to sharpen their own knives! Here’s the crutch though, you have to move on this one. Why? Because Eric’s next class is coming up this monday, December 10th. See? Shopping done!
Bring a few knives to sharpen and at least one that can take a lot of abuse.
Knife Sharpening Class with Eric E. Weiss
Location: Kitchen On Fire
1509 Shattuck Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94709
6:30 – 8:30

Again, you need to move on this one. Call today and secure your place of honor. After that, you may want to write down some questions that you’ve always wanted to know the truth about. Those rumors spread from nitwits at your local mega mart. Such as, don’t use a steel it prematurely wears down your knife. Come prepared and be on time.
ps – Am told that you can just actually show up on time and be allowed to attend, ain’t that cool? Make a date of it !!!

Knife Sharpening Class with Eric E. Weiss

Monday, October 15, 2007
6:30pm ??8:30pm $65.00
Paulding & Company, A Creative Kitchen
1410 D 62nd St., Emeryville, 94608
You will be taught to sharpen and hone your knives to perfection by hand. The sharpening stone and honing oil is included in the price of this class. Bring your quality chef?셲 knife and paring knife plus any others you wish to learn to sharpen. Should you want Eric to bring your knives back to life, you may arrange that during class.
Eric?셲 sharpening experience spans 30 years. Born in England, raised in Germany, his love affair with all things sharp began in boyhood, grew with him through military service to the Queen, and comes to fruition at Bay Area Farmer?셲 Markets, restaurants, catering companies, retail and private homes. During this unique hands-on class Eric gladly shares his true wealth of historical, cultural, and scientific knowledge about the blade.
Class details/registration at

Knife Skills Class – Shuna Fish Lydon

Oh guess what, everyone? Shuna is coming back to town and this coming August 12th she’s hosting one of her famous knife skills classes. This is perfect timing too, just look around you. The markets are absolutely filled with seasonal fruits and happy vegetables. I’m sure you do quite well on your own making your way through those tender little bundles of flavor. But haven’t you always suspected there was a better way? A way to extract just a little more texture, something to make your mouth jingle?
Shuna is here and on the job. She’s taken the time for you all and share her knowledge and passion. And brother, or sister, she’s got both in vast quantities. In fact, her passion is infectious and soon you’ll be on the edge of your chair, with your hand up. It’s so great to have someone this close that can take the time to make sure you get what you came for, and more.
One of my favorite parts is close to the end of the class she does a hands on segment and shows everyone how to properly use a steel. A properly used steel in the kitchen is just as important as the knife is. Without it, your knife is a dull, dangerous thing that only gets in the way of your creations.
Knife Skills Class – Shuna Fish Lydon
Sunday August 12 Knife Skills Class 1 pm – 3:30 pm
North Berkeley, California

Here is the page with all the information to get you started.
Shuna’s School List


It was only back in June for Mr. Weiss’ last knife sharpening class. Terry Paulding said she could fill another and wanted to hear no sass. So, Eric being the knife sharpening ninja he is, said “You bet I’ll do it. It’s great, I love it!” Off to the calendar they flew, with pens in hand to find out when next would be. They agreed August 6th would be most excellent for that next knife sharpening class. All you lovers of all things sharp, get thine there, en masse!
with Eric E. Weiss

Monday, August 6, 2007
6:30pm – 8:30pm $65.00
Paulding & Company, A Creative Kitchen
1410 D 62nd St, Emeryville, 94608
You will be taught to hone your knives to perfection by
hand. A sharpening stone and honing oil is included in
the price of this class. Bring your quality chef’s knife and
paring knife plus any others you wish to learn to sharpen.
Should you want Eric to bring your knives back to life,
you may arrange that during class.
Eric’s sharpening experience spans 30 years. Born in
England, raised in Germany, his love affair with all things
sharp began in boyhood, grew with him through military
service to the Queen, and comes to fruition at Bay Area
Farmer’s Markets, restaurants, catering companies, retail
and private homes. During this unique hands-on class
Eric gladly shares his true wealth of historical, cultural,
and scientific knowledge about the blade.
Class details/registration at
Paulding & Co.

Knife Sharpening Class With Eric E. Weiss

So you can dice up your onion and slice down your carrots now with ease. Celery goes fine, stuffed with creamy cheese. But dammit man, the thought of sharpening those knives has always made you weak in the knees.
I owe you a dollar for having to read that …
Ahem. Well, suffer no longer my good friend. Mr. Weiss is here and he’s got a class coming up this coming Monday evening. Click on that image above, he got a wonderful write-up in the San Francisco Magazine recently. Cool, eh?
There’s only a few spaces left, so hurry and sign up quick. It’s only 60 bux!
MONDAY, June 18, 2007
6:30pm – 8:30pm $60.
Paulding &Company, A Creative Kitchen
1410 D 62nd. St. Emeryville, 94608
Class details/registration at
Paulding & Co.

Sunday May 6, 2007 Pie & Galette Dough – Shuna is on FIRE !!

Shuna is at it once again, thank goodness. I can’t speak for everyone, but there could very well be some of us out there that are about as good at baking as Homer Simpson is at home construction. Sure you went out and spent hundreds on some fancy, bright red kweezinart rig. Book in hand you set out to make a pie dough. You probably made something that was … edible. But how would youl like a Pastry Ninja next to you guiding your every movement?
Well, now’s the time to jump. And I mean today. You’re getting the inside scoop here. If you want another day, your space could be given to someone else. It does happen you know? Don’t lag.
Sunday May 6, 2007 Pie & Galette Dough 1 – 3:30 pm
The price is $80 per person. Details of location are disclosed to registered students a few days before the class. There are two $45 spots reserved in each Baking Class for “assistants.”
Go here now.

Shuna’s Baking Classes: March 11 & 25, 2007

Here we see an actual Pate A Choux doughnut from one of Shuna’s classes. And yes, I took it!

Hey you!
Yeah, you. The one on the fence, over there. Get down and come over here. The weather is brightening and the sun is shinier. It’s 2007 and it’s time to get back in the kitchen, you’ve had enough rest.
Quiddit, don’t give me that ol’ line. I don’t wanna hear it. Just because she’s holding these two classes, doesn’t mean they will always be there in the future. You need to contact Shuna directly over at her web site, Eggbeater. Looks like it only costs $100.00 bux. While that’s more than $55, you’re not going to be able to find a fancy pastry chef with Shuna’s credentials and skill set at another venue, nope!
Go now!