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Catering students at Nescot enjoyed a visit from a local butcher today (Thursday October 17) to help with one of their units.

Ben Maidment, founder and owner of Ben’s Butchery, gave a demonstration to the Level 2 Professional Cookery full-time students and Commis Chef apprentices.

He showed them how to butcher a whole pig, and the students were then each given a shoulder of pork to debone, stuff and slow cook under the tutors’ supervision.

“The students learnt a lot from Ben’s demonstration, and they were glad to then have the opportunity to practice what they’d learnt for themselves,” said course leader Karin Freestone.

“It’s part of their unit to be able to debone a piece of meat, and watching a professional butcher work showed them how to plan their work to get the best cuts and to minimise wastage.”

The students have also been discussing broader issues, including animal welfare standards, the environmental impact of food miles, and how to be a responsible business owner.

Full-time student Nicole said the workshop and her work experience at Ben’s Butchery are helping her to think more critically about meat as an ingredient in her cooking.

“Today I’ve learnt a lot about the various cuts of pork, and how they can be cooked in different ways and used in such a wide variety of dishes,” she said.

“I think working in a butchers is a really good experience, because I’m learning things that are going to help me for my whole career.”

Ben started training as a butcher aged 20 and took over a butchery counter in a farm shop in 2015. He went on to set up Ben’s Butchery in Epsom in 2016, followed by a branch in Belmont in July.

He has been supplying meat to Nescot’s Catering students since September, and said he prides himself on his business ethics, ensuring that the meat he sells is locally-sourced, free range and outdoor reared.

Nescot offers full-time Catering courses at Level 1 and Level 2, as well as apprenticeships at Level 2 and Level 3.