Marc Bence/for metro edmonton


Meat master Stefan Follner displays his slicing magic at at NAIT’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts yesterday. Follner aims to rid his profession of many of the poor associations that have dogged it over the years.

At 22, Stefan Follner is a German master at cutting meat.

The young man was only a teenager when he received his German Master Butcher certification — the highest designation in the world for butchers.

And in order to get that certification, butchers need to learn the rare craft of tenderizing and deboning meat in Germany, the only country in the world that offers the three-year program.

"People were quite surprised because of my age, but at the course people are usually around 25-years-old," said Follner. "They had much more experience, but I managed to make it through."

Students in Canada can’t take the course unless they book a flight to Germany, but those at NAIT’s School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts will have a week’s worth of lectures offered by Follner.

It’s the first time a German Master Butcher has come to NAIT.

Mark Trick, a meat cutting instructor at NAIT, says Follner’s visit shows students that the meat cutting trade isn’t boring or gruesome.

"Meat cutting is not a dead-end trade where you are in a Safeway doing nothing, the opportunities are huge," said Trick. Trick says grocery stores and other businesses are struggling to find workers because of the meat cutting industry’s stereotypes. NAIT is also recording lower enrolment in its meat cutting classes, says Trick.

"When people think meat cutting they think they’ll be covered in blood, but this is a very rewarding job."

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