AB&C: Artisan Butchery & Charcuterie- Seed to Sausage in Gascony

June 30, 2010

Bruno Chapolard

Beginning this September 20 2010, the first six-week Artisan Butchery & Charcuterie: Seed to Sausage in Gascony, a program for students interested in learning the skills of traditional French butchery and charcuterie in France. Developed by Kate Hill of the Gascon Kitchen at Camont and Dominique Chapolard of G.A.E.C. Ferme Baradieu for restaurant chefs, specialty butchers, and novice charcutiers, this program follows a unique European model of alternating hands-on experience with a solid curriculum designed for Americans in France. This six week program follows the production of a premium quality artisan charcuterie from farm field to pork production to market stall.

AB&C is the acronym for Camont’s Artisan Butchery & Charcuterie program and reflects the fundamental approach to creating quality fresh and cured pork products as taught by Dominique & Christiane Chapolard and brothers Jacques, Bruno and Marc on the family farm Baradieu and by Kate Hill in the Gascon Kitchen at Camont. Long relationships working with the Chapolard family as well as neighboring farmers have informed our cooking classes at Camont since 1991. In 2008, we formalized the first butchery and charcuterie apprenticeships working with students on customized programs from 5 weeks to 6 months. Now in 2010, we offer the first Artisan Butchery & Charcuterie introductory program: a six-week apprenticeship of practice and theory based on a classic French standard for artisan butchery and charcuterie.

Perfect Ventrèche

Just four students per session will work and study at Camont and Ferme Baradieu. Working alongside the Chapolard family on their farm, students learn:

  • the basics of small scale pig production as the foundation for establishing meat quality.
  • to choose quality meat by recognizing excellence
  • an economical approach to working with a whole carcass
  • hand-cutting with boning knife, cleaver and saw.
  • basics of first cut to finish fresh and charcuterie cuts
  • utilization of every piece, making clean cuts results in no waste
  • European seam butchery which is based on muscle structure and articulation points and anatomy
  • Economy of movement while butchery and how to use the weight of the animal in your favor

The artisan level of butchery and charcuterie implies an intimate knowledge of many related fields. The goal is to teach, refine and practice knife skills on whole carcasses while learning the French lexis of meat cuts and traditional nitrate and nitrite-free curing methods. The four basic approaches to pork are learned and mastered each week: fresh, cured, cooked and preserved.

Some prior level of French language is highly suggested, though not required.  This is a program for self-motivated cooks seeking an in-depth traditional French experience in authentic and traditional charcuterie and butchery skills. Tuition start at 1€ a week: room, board and local transportation is 400-€ a week.

Artisan Butchery & Charcuterie: Seed to Sausage in Gascony    Sept 20- October 30 2010

Dominique Chapolard


  • Six weeks of instruction and tuition (Monday-Friday) following the weekly breakdown from slaughterhouse to Saturday market.
  • Foundation of  continuous artisan pork production as practiced on the Chapolard family farm, Baradieu: each week focuses on a essential component of butchery and charcuterie.
  • Each week consists of 3 days of working alongside the Chapolards and 2 days of study and practice at Camont as well as weekly visits to other producers and butchers.
  • excursions and field trips to abattoirs, butchers, producers throughout Gascony.
  • The six weeks reflect a flow of working with the whole carcass
  1. intro to whole process, from field to market stall, animal husbandry and basic anatomy
  2. primal quarters for fresh cuts- shoulder, loin, ribs, belly, hams, hocks, head
  3. charcuterie & the art of salting, smoking & curing – hams, saucisson, saucisse seche, ventreche (french bacon)
  4. cooked pates, sausages & confit
  5. offal- boudin (blood sausage, liver, heart, tongue, beret, head cheese, rind
  6. mastering the whole carcass breakdown on your own and creating a charcuterie master sheet

A limited number of spaces are available each 6 week session; applicants will be chosen on the basis of a completed form that includes a resume.

For further information, email for an application to katehill (at) email (dot)com

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Artisan Butchery & Charcuterie Sessions: September 20- October 30 2010
June 30, 2010 at 11:57 am

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Sausage King August 10, 2010 at 7:57 am

This sounds amazing – will you be running it on any other dates?

Kind regards

Sausage King

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