July 27, 2013

By Stacy Hoelting, Culinary Arts Student

As a culinary student at the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts, I have had the opportunity to learn how to correctly prepare meats to an accurate degree of doneness, and I have also become much more appreciative of the supply of the meat from the animal that was processed. Many times when ordering a meat protein from a restaurant or preparing at home, it is easily forgotten that an animal’s life ended in order to provide that protein. By correctly preparing the meat and understanding where the meat came from, chefs and cooks alike can aid in honoring that animal’s life.

One of the experiences I had while on my Farm To Table® Experience program was visiting a meat processing and packing company in Boulder. My class and I were given a tour of the packing area in the building, followed by a viewing of the recently processed animals in waiting to be butchered and packed. Finally, the closing part of the tour consisted of a voluntary viewing of the animals being brought into the building to be slaughtered. Although I had conflicting feelings about this viewing, I felt it was important to understand the process of one of the many aspects of the food industry. I am very compassionate about animals, so this was not an easy experience for me. Having to watch multiple sheep and goats be slaughtered was one of the most helpless feelings I have ever had, especially after spending days on a Boulder county farm with young goats.

Even though this was very difficult for me to experience, I also believe that this experience was also very rewarding. Being able to honor the animal by understanding this process helps me to appreciate the meat that I prepare for others and myself.