I’ve known John for a good few years. We initially met when working together in a call centre in Galway. Nearly 14 years later if you had told us we’d be together in a room with me photographing him while he broke down an entire pig in his butchers shop it would have seemed a bit unlikely to say the least!
Family tradition is important to John. He talked about how his father was born upstairs in the original family home above where the butchers is located. He spoke about how when tragedy struck a few years back and they sadly lost his uncle at too young an age he and his father discussed the future for the butcher shop and John took the brave step to carry on the family business and learn to be a butcher himself to keep Herterichs Butchers as they have always been in Galway city – central to its identity, keeping its core values and esteemed reputation.
So it was that he took on the task of learning his new career with the help of a long time employee of the family business. It was a challenging time to enter the trade with lots of new regulations. This meant they had to replace all their traditional cast iron prep area with new stainless steel machinery.
More new machinery was to follow including a very modern and expensive scale and till as per regulations. But John retained the core of what the family business was. Pride in what he does, a great knowledge of his product and an easy manner with customers.
Business has gone well under John’s direction and he spoke about how he doesn’t get as much time as he would like to do the day to day hands on work as other aspects of the business keep him so busy. However I have to say watching him work you certainly wouldn’t think it.
John continued to work and he showed me the process of working through all the different cuts. He also spoke about the various methods of preparation for different cooking needs. Then showed me their production area for their famous sausages and black pudding.
It seems that whatever the cut may be that there is a use for it. And some of the parts you may not think would be the most sought after are in fact quite popular. With the pigs feet in particular they are in high demand among Galways Asian community.
We also had a walk around the rest of the premises which is surprisingly bigger than you might expect. John showed me the cold rooms where they keep all their raw product. If you’ll pardon the phrasing which he called it a “forest of meat”.
Working in these rooms some of the temperatures were as low as -4 Degrees. John mentioned the importance of good control of the environment in order to maintain the best quality product. It seems keeping a room very cold is a lot tougher than making it hot!
If you want to try out some of the fantastic products made by John and his team at Herterichs Butchers they’re used in many restaurants throughout Galway city. Or you can just call in to the shop yourself. They’re located on 1 Lombard Street in Galway or you can call them on 091567852.
If you’re looking for a knowledgeable, friendly butcher who’s also going to offer the best of service with a smile then thats exactly what you’ve found. I enjoyed spending the day watching John at his craft and I learned a lot – both about the trade and him. A massive thanks to John for taking the time to show me around his business. I look forward to visiting them again on a production day and seeing the place in full swing.
If you’re interested in this project or know someone who would be a good candidate to have their skills showcased please contact me on [email protected] or call me on 0867279638.