Meeting Mr. Meat
Mike Lafond champion meat-cutter
NNSL (Sep 25/98) - You can't really know all there is to know about meat until you "meat" Mike Lafond.
In an era of vegetarianism and talk of smaller portions, here's a guy who will proudly tell you he loves a rib eye.
"You just start eating them and they have to be the best," the 28-year-old assistant manager at Northern Fancy Meats says when asked to discuss his favourite meat.
Originally from Saskatchewan, Lafond came North almost 10 years ago now to take a position as a meat-cutter at the store. He's never looked back.
"I started working at a grocery store when I was 16," he says. "The meat cutter went on holidays and I filled in for him."
He took a college course in the trade and has been on the job ever since.
"It seemed like there is always going to be a need for meat cutters," he says. "People always have to eat."
When not preparing meat in the back, you'll find Lafond dealing with customers at the counter. He says it's the best part of his job. People often want cooking advice and he's more than happy to help out. After all, he's no slouch in front of the stove either.
"I don't mind cooking because I love eating," he says.
Beef tenderloin is one of the most challenging cuts to prepare he says. Customers also sometimes ask him for steak tar-tar which is eaten raw. He also works away preparing sausages, cutting wild meat brought in for preparation, supervising cleaning of the facility and having products smoked.
In short, he works in a meat-lover's paradise. In total, he figures he is involved in getting upwards of 1,000 kilograms of products ready for eager Yellowknifers each week.
When not at work, you're likely to find Lafond out fishing or hunting, depending on the season.
So next time you're biting into a juicy steak or gnawing on a massive rack of ribs, think of him.
He's the brains behind the meat you eat.