Reviving Craft Butchery: Peter G Bouchier
Meet Peter Bouchier. As a kid Peter helped his father run his butcher shop with the deliveries around town. So, it was a natural progression for Peter to become a butcher himself. Butchering is in the Bouchier family’s blood; originally from the Western District, Peter is one of 14 butchers in his family!
In 1976 Peter started his apprenticeship at a shop on Malvern Road three doors down from the current location of his shop today. In 1980 he took on a management role there and three years later, he and his wife, Sue, bought the shop and started Peter G Bouchier – Butchers of Distinction. They have now been in the business for more than 40 years.
For Peter, butchery has always been about what’s next, new and creative. They not only keep up with food trends, but also set them. “I try to think about what will get people excited”, he said. Creating new products and styles for their customers has always been a priority.
Original, in-house products have always been one of Peter’s greatest achievements. It’s also something that the industry as a whole does incredibly well these days. “I love creating unique, high quality products that really connect with peoples’ passion for great food”, Pete told us. These products include Clonakilty Blackpudding, Musk’s sausages, flavoured sausages and a collection of German inspired smallgoods including his frankfurts, weisswurt, kransky and bratwurst. The full collection of smallgoods can also be found at the deli inside the David Jones Food Hall on Bourke Street in Melbourne.
“I love creating unique, high quality products that really connect with peoples’ passion for great food”
Traditionally, butchers have always been strong community figures. “They were thought of as jovial and approachable with a passion for what they do. And some of us haven’t changed to this day but the industry itself is very different now” Peter explained.
Lamb and pork were the most popular meats before, whereas chicken leads the pack these days. People are cooking for much smaller families, which influences customer shopping habits, and perhaps most importantly, 50 years ago the only competition for local independent butchers was with each other.
In the ’90s supermarkets began selling meat and employing butchers. This caused small, independent butchers to dwindle significantly but it didn’t destroy them completely. Peter believes that a shift in the butchery industry is what has driven independent butchers to be the best they can be by providing great service and really connecting with their customers as their point of difference.
That is why Peter G Bouchier offers its customers quality and consistency rather than bargains. This practice instils confidence in their customers. The business sources meat from smaller producers and offers transparency with its products. The staff are experts at providing customers with answers to the tough questions about meat sourcing, advice on how to cook the meat and full proof recipe suggestions.
According to Peter, thanks to the demand for interesting and unique products, the butchery industry will continue to grow. Now that it is so easy to connect with butchers from around the world, inspiration from Europe, American and beyond is always present. New skills and fun ideas are always just around the corner.