Self-styled ‘Girl Butcher’ Charlotte Harbottle is one of only a handful of female butchers. As she prepares to open up her own shop in Gosforth today, KATHARINE CAPOCCI caught up with her
CHARLOTTE Harbottle can’t wait to get her teeth into her new meaty venture as she takes to the helm of her own butchers’ shop today.
The self-styled ‘Girl Butcher,’ who tweets and has her own blog under the same tags, opens the doors of Charlotte’s Butchery in Ashburton Road in Gosforth today.
North East restaurateur Terry Laybourne is cutting the ribbon and local foodies will be popping in to show their support, like blogger Anna Hedworth and private Indian chef Maunika Gowardhan.
Opening the shop is something of a fulfilment of a dream for the 24-year-old from Gosforth, Newcastle who is taking over the butchery premises of AE Hubb.
She acknowledges she has a good solid base to work from with butcher Colin’s clientele and is fully open to the public from noon.
“It’s the fulfilment of a dream, completely, 100%,” says the bubbly Charlotte, who has long wavy hair, and is dressed in trendy tweed jacket, when we meet.
So how does a theology graduate of York Uni and an old girl of Church High independent school in Newcastle, find herself working as a butcher?
It’s not exactly a well-trodden career path for a woman, Charlotte is the first to admit.
She reckons she’s one of about three female butchers in England. “There is one in Smithfield market in London.” And she doesn’t know of anyone else in the North East.
“I got into butchering when I was working part-time through my uni course in theology in York,” explains Charlotte. “I fell in love with it. I really enjoyed it.”
After graduating she took a year out, but then fell back in to butchery, and as she says herself, “I’ve never looked back”.
She learned the trade working alongside established butchers in the North East as well as a couple of high-end establishments in London.
She started out working in Stewart and Co deli and butchery in Jesmond for a few months in 2011, then for award-winning butcher George Payne at Brunton Park in Gosforth, until she says, she was head-hunted to move to London.
“I then worked for O’Shea’s of Knightsbridge and then Lidgate’s in Holland Park.”
Charlotte explains she picked up her skills as she went along. “I had skilled butchers showing me what to do.”
She is married to Tony, a classical singer, who works for various choral establishments, and also trains dogs part-time.
She adds: “As a 24-year-old having the shop I feel fabulously lucky. It’s exciting. Everybody has been so lovely and I have a lot of contacts in the area.
“In terms of the shop, I’m going to be keeping up with what the previous owner kept on, at first until I’m settled – and I don’t want to alienate his current customers.”