Walking into Hudson Meats, the aromas are undeniably exotic and raw. The glass cabinet is filled with perfectly cut and prepared meats to attract those walking by. But what really makes Hudson Meats different from other butchers, is their passion and enthusiasm. All meat products take a ‘paddock to plate’ approach, with a fascinating back-story. Their salami’s are produce in Sydney by a small Italian family who have an aging shed. The ham is prepared by a German couple who first complained to Hudson Meats that Australian’s do terrible ham! Even the condiments are unique are sourced from various locations, with the aim of matching the quality of the meat. Recently opening their doors at the Tok-H Center, we were luckily enough to interview Colin Holt (Executive Chef, Butcher and part-owner ) & Micah Hewitt (Melbourne business partner, Manager & Butcher) to see what these Sydney butchers can offer to the Melbourne food scene.
1. Colin, you have a history as a two-hatted executive chef. What made you decide to enter the butcher business? Are you still working as a chef or concentrating full-time on the butcher business?
CH: Entering the butcher business from the restaurant industry was a big change for me. I am although still very connected to my main passions – food and cooking. I have been able to explore the importance of the provenance of products and the future of food which are other large interests of mine.
2. What is your favourite dish that you like to cook at home using Hudson Meats products?
CH: When having friends over for lunch, I enjoy serving our six week dry aged grass-fed standing rib roast served with a simple fennel & green bean salad and some roasted kipfler potatoes. Through our suppliers, we are privileged to be able to enjoy a great range of grass-fed and pasture-raised products.
MH: My favourite quick dish would probably have to be a beautiful piece of Cape Grim grass fed sirloin steak, served with a simple salad and some of our red wine jus or cafe de paris butter. My favourite slow cooked dish is lamb shoulder – slow baked for at least five hours with baked vegetables and pan juices.
3. You two are going out on a limb opening a butchery interstate. What was the inspiration to venture out to Melbourne?
CH: A great opportunity came available and having a city / state that takes food seriously and supports it from the ground up gave us confidence in our adventure.
MH: Being General Manager of the Melbourne store is very exciting as I have a deep respect for Melbourne’s food culture and history and look forward to exploring it further.
4. What drew you to choose Toorak as your Melbourne flagship store location?
CH: We were approached with the opportunity, explored the area and inevitably feel in love with it. We enjoy the whole area including the bustling surrounding suburbs.
5. Hudson Meats has a “paddock to plate” philosophy. What do you do to ensure the meat provided is of the best quality and truly organic?
CH: All of our produce is grown chemical and pesticide free. We ensure the farming practice is as you would find under Humane Choice – where the beast is naturally fed and grown free range. We make sure we are in regular communication and contact with the farmer about their produce and farming practices to ensure our products are of the best quality.
MH: Dealing directly with farmers provides immense satisfaction as it enabling us to know exactly where the product is from, what breed it is and how it has been fed and treated. This allows us to provide information to the customer about the journey of the meat giving them a unique and educational experience.
6. What are the latest trends in meat products that we should be digging our teeth into?
CH: We work in seasons with our cooking and at this time of the year braising is big. We generally like to promote the whole ‘nose to tail’, taking each cut of meat seriously.
MH: The latest trend I’m seeing is the increased awareness of the benefits of grass fed beef as being superior in flavour with also many health benefits. Products such as Cape Grim Beef, Welsh Black Beef and Robbins Island grass fed wagyu provide incredibly good eating meat.
7. You have guys are more than just butchers who cut and weigh meat. What other initiatives is Hudson Meat planning to conduct once you settle into Toorak?
MH: The business is more than just meat. We also have a huge collection of deli items including cheese, preserves, condiments, oils and staple items such as vegetables, rice, gains and pasta. We also will be running interactive instore events including hands on classes (salami and sausage making) and demonstrations throughout the year.