I want to help make sure the job of charcutier, and the culture of knowing meat, survives for the next 100 years and beyond.

METZGEREI KUSUDA
Hirohiko Kusuda

METZGEREI KUSUDA Hirohiko Kusuda

If you can find the reason behind your failures, they become your successes.

To do so, you would want to create a successor. Is there any principle that you keep in mind as you train someone?

Mr. Kusuda:

When they commit mistakes, I tend to ask “Why?” There is no point in scolding them when they do not understand the reasons. Failures, from my experience, are needed; they’re growing pains. But if you do not know the reasons, you’ll make the same mistakes. If the trainees do only what they’re told, they cannot control unexpected situations. They need to feel and think.So I tend to ask, “What are you thinking of while you’re working?”

“Feel, think, and make it yours.” In order to do so, is there anything that you actually did during your training period?

Mr. Kusuda:
During my training I was scolded intensely every day, but I was motivated by not wanting to let them scold me again!I wrote in my notebook about what went wrong, analyzing the reasons and thinking of countermeasures.

If you think about the reasons, find them, and cover all your bases next time, it becomes your growth.
So I always tell the young staff to think of the reasons behind their failures, and review.

METZGEREI KUSUDA sausage

The fun part is seeing the various characteristics and creations of charcutier.

What kind of person is best suited to being a charcutier?

Mr. Kusuda:
I often talk with chefs of other restaurants. They have preparation, then time to do “battle,” and finish, then prepare again, battle again… They always have different stages. On the other hand, our job feels like preparation all the time and is very plain work, comparitively. We keep on learning and learning, so it is hard to see progress unless the person can keep their thirst for learning, wanting to know and understand.

What are the fun parts of this job?

Mr. Kusuda:
There is definitely an appeal in the surprises of ingredients grown in different places changing shapes and becoming this food in the end.

Wild pig and chicken meat, they all have different physical characteristics.Traditional European processes avoid stabilizers and preservatives as much as possible.You need to pull out the maximum amount of taste using only salt and spices. Then there are pigs with special “abilities” – ones that have strong protein and ones that don’t.It’s fun because the product isn’t stable. You need to judge and adjust.

So the characteristics and art of the craftsman are created through the choice of materials and processes.

Mr. Kusuda:
Yes. It is really all five senses… Really, it’s more complicated than that, but we do have to keep brushing up on our five senses, raising their accuracy. In this field, things don’t happen by accident. I have been working with charcuterie since before I went to school, so more than 40 years now. But even for me, I only recently got the hang of how to consistently produce an ideal taste with specific qualities.

Finally, please give a message to people who are trying to become charcutiers.

Mr. Kusuda:
Those who train at my shop all have ambitions of leaving sometime, to go abroad or open their own shops. It is important to have a variety of experience in order to stand on your own, but more than anything you must persevere.

You should expect to spend at least five years in training. In Europe, it takes about seven years to become a master. If you become a craftsman who continues working and thinking, you are sure to succeed.

And it’s important to think about not only technique, but about how you handle logic as a person.If you have low sales, you come up with an idea from a manager’s point of view. By engaging using that same viewpoint, things will go smoother when you open your own shop in the future.

The most precious thing for me is to see a whole family eating hams and sausages with smiles on their faces. Metzgerei Kusuda serves that. I think my mission in life is to build the culture of charcutier, as a job, and make it so these housemade hams and sausages are a regular part of life in Japan.

(Interview: Takashi Ichihara  Writer: Tomoko Tanaka  Photographer: Kengo Osaka)

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Inquiry
+81-797-35-8001
Access
12-19 Miyatsuka-cho, Ashiya, Hyogo
10-minute walk from JR Ashiya Station or Hanshin Uchide Station
Hours
Take-out / 10:00 - 18:00 (last order)
Dining / 11:00 - 17:00 (last order)
Closed
Wednesdays and the third Tuesday of the month