The Butcher

The Butcher

AKA The Curator of Cuts

“I make sure every cut continues Lumina lamb’s legacy of excellence.”
The Butcher small
The Butcher
Our specifications are vital to ensuring a deliciously consistent and reliable product, every time

This isn’t what you expect from a butcher’s place of work. This is Alliance Group’s innovation kitchen. A fitting name for a space that is dedicated to experimentation and creativity. A ‘workshop’ where the Butcher explores new horizons in preparation and ageing. Where he ensures that Lumina lamb will always be a cut above the rest – pun intended.

Craft and care in every step.

The Butcher puts the sample he’s holding down on the workbench in front of him. He does this carefully and with great precision. “I never forget all the work that’s gone into a Lumina lamb. So we make sure every cut meets Lumina’s incredibly high standards. These specifications are vital to ensuring a deliciously consistent and reliable product, every time.” He slices into the meat with surgical precision and utter reverence.

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This is next level butchery. On every level. But it all begins with the meat. “We can only do what we do because of what goes on behind the farm gate. The efforts of the Lumina farmers to produce lambs with the unique levels of intramuscular fat, Omega 3 and polyunsaturated fat we see in Lumina lamb mean we have an exceptional product to work with.” Watching the Butcher work is mesmerising. Reminiscent of seeing a carpenter preparing a canvas for a great master. And in many ways, that’s exactly what he’s doing – creating a culinary canvas for the world’s best chefs.

The detail makes the difference

“Some people think that our rigorous standards are obsessive. But really, obsession is what it takes to make something really exceptional.” The Butcher is talking about Alliance Group, New Zealand’s leading farmer co-operative dedicated to producing the finest meats. As a partner, Alliance shares Lumina’s values and sky-high aspirations. “We believe in putting farmers at the heart of everything we do. It’s all about quality. Actually, no… it’s about excellence.” Exactly what you’d expect from a Lumina partner. And it’s true that the extent of the grading each carcass goes through in order to achieve the standards demanded by chefs and customers is impressive. Just one example of ‘excellence in action’.

The Butcher turns the cut over for us and uses his knife to point at the details he’s so proud of. “Nothing is left to chance. Weight, pH level and fat content are all scrutinised, and each individual carcass is tracked through the entire journey.” And what a journey it is. The Lumina meat quality measuring and validation process uses leading-edge Hyperspec technology to scan acidity and fat levels. Combine this with the Viascan process and the Butcher can collect predictive data that guarantees complete consistency, feeding it back to the farmer to constantly improve the product.

Some people think that our rigorous standards are obsessive. But really, obsession is what it takes to make something exceptional.

Helping chefs reach new heights.

“The cuts are often performed by hand,” the Butcher tells us. And ‘performed’ is the right word to describe this process. There’s nothing functional about it. It’s executed with meticulous care, in line with Lumina’s strict specifications. The meat is aged to ensure it’s consistently tender. And after being blast frozen, the cuts are ready for delivery to chefs around the world.

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The meat is aged to ensure it’s consistently tender.

How does it feel to be the person who creates the cut for some of the best chefs? “It’s not a responsibility we ever take lightly,” the Butcher says. He smiles as he tells us this. His sense of pride is evident. “It’s also why we’re always looking for new ways to improve Lumina to reveal its flavour attributes.” This does indeed feel like a constant conversation between the needs of the Chefs and the ambitions of the Butcher. And by taking the time to understand what’s important to the Chef, the Butcher discovers new ways to present the possibilities of the entire animal. “By embracing the nose to tail movement, we can focus on the less used parts - the hind leg, neck, ears, offal. We can tap into our customers’ needs, deliver a better return for the farmer and ensure sustainability for generations to come.”

“The fat profile of the lamb lends itself to charcuterie and the curing process, retaining more moisture so that when it's cured it doesn’t release any of the juices.” And because of the difference in taste, texture and consistency of the Lumina lamb, the Butcher and Chef can create brand new modern classics. From the centre cut leg that spectacularly showcases the succulent meat around the femur, to using the belly to create lamb bacon. These pioneering plates are the results of countless tests and trials with cutting and curing, responding to the needs of the Chef and their customers to push the boundaries of what’s possible.

Is ‘Butcher’ the right way to describe what he does? He thinks about this for a moment, then…“Yes and no. It may sound a little pretentious, but I think of myself more as a ‘curator’.” That doesn’t sound pretentious to us. Not when you put this much care into what you do. And when the result is Lumina.

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The Lumina Way
The Butcher
Aged prior to freezing.
Blast frozen at -21°C (-5.8°F).
pH: <5.8
Intramuscular fat target: 3–4.5%
Fat cover target: 5–15mm.
RFID traceability through processing ensures linkage back to a Lumina farm.

The Chef

AKA The Culinary Consultant

“I help to bring out the best in Lumina lamb. The flavours, the aromas and the possibilities.”