Meet the Team - Felix
As a young boy Felix always aspired to be a chef like his Dad. However, as he grew older he became aware of the stress and extremely long hours that are synonymous to the role. This took the shine off following in his father’s footsteps, but it didn’t take away Felix’s interest in food and cooking.
Felix grew up in the small country town of Klais in Germany. The area is rich in sheep, cattle and dairy farming. When he was twelve, Felix got an after school job at one of the local sheep farms as a carer to their border collies where he spent his afternoons grooming, playing with and feeding the farm dogs. The farm had a small shop where they sold their own lamb and cattle as well as a selection of smallgoods; as Felix got older he progressed to working in the shop, serving customers and being exposed to the wholesome process of the farm – growing, slaughtering, butchering and selling their own animals. Felix became fascinated by the process, particularly interested in how many unique cuts and products came from one animal. It was through this exposure, and learning the basics at the farm, that Felix, at the age of 17, decided he should become a butcher.
A butcher apprenticeship in Germany differs slightly from the Australian apprenticeship. By the second year of training in Germany, an apprentice can choose to specialise in areas within butchery. Felix found himself gravitating toward smallgoods. Felix and his family loved to eat them, on average they would have cold cut smallgoods like lebercasse for breakfast and then sausages and pickles or something similar for dinner. So it was only natural that through his apprenticeship he became increasingly interested in the process of making them. In Germany the butchers’ cabinets are roughly 80% smallgoods and meat based salads and 20% fresh meat. With the assistance of his boss’ wife, who gave Felix a ‘care package’ every day filled with a variety of sausages, smallgoods and salads from the cabinet, Felix’s knowledge and understanding of smallgoods soon progressed and Felix became a real enthusiast of authentic German smallgoods. The intricate designs and beautiful presentation of the German smallgoods and the hundreds of varieties that were possible really drew Felix in and his desire to learn, master and create became his passion.
Felix has become an asset to Peter Bouchier. In his role as production supervisor, Felix oversees the daily production across the floor in Moorabbin. He works closely with each team - fresh meat, smallgoods and our chefs, liaising with everyone to ensure daily tasks are completed effectively. Always keeping a close eye on the smallgoods production. Peter and Felix’s like-minded passion for smallgoods perfection is a force to be reckoned with. They have spent an incredible amount of time improving and perfecting the smallgoods range, always looking for ways to make each product more authentic to the German style. Learning from each other, Peter has gained a great deal from Felix about true German craftsmanship, simultaneously, Felix learned skills in the Australian style of ham production which is seldom seen in Germany as the style of ham that is popular here originates from England. As the ovens are opened intermittently between cooks, and the waft of smoky goodness travels around the factory, the pair are often found, with fellow German and smallgoods maker- Alex, huddled around the corner tucking into a fresh, hot frankfurt, which Felix proudly states are exceptional and could easily hold their own against a German frank.
Felix and Peter ventured to Germany last year on an ‘educational trip’ comprising of IFFA (the world’s biggest meat industry trade show, read more about it here), touring a great number of German butcheries, grocers and eateries, immersing themselves in smallgoods and sampling a few local biers along the way. Felix took great pleasure in showing Peter his old work place and seemingly endless array of smallgoods, cooked products and salads available. The pair returned to Melbourne brimming with ideas and excited to trial a few things they had seen in Germany.
Throughout this year, Peter and Felix will be looking at the range of smallgoods – refining the current offering as well as introducing some new products and continuing to improve the range and maximise authenticity.