Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants


Andy Fenner exploded onto the food scene a couple of years ago with his blog Jamie Who, which I’ve been following – and loving – for quite some time now. For someone who, from the very beginning, made a point of ‘no advertising’ on his blog, it came as a surprise to many when he announced he’d be joining the Aficionado site in the hope of earning a bit of extra income. Fair enough. For the amount of time and effort put into blogging it can be rewarding to draw in advertising. The real shock came in mid-October when Andy announced he was finished with Aficionado in his last post.

I think we all knew Andy was up to something though. (Since starting blogging he has done work for Woolworths, Warwick, David Higgs’s Central One, Jason Bakery and Massimo’s.) So the arrival of Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants was certainly NOT a surprise (well, not in my book, anyway). Andy has always prided himself in knowing about where his meat comes from, taking great care about the food on the plate and creating relationships with small producers and farmers. To me, Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants makes perfect sense. And I can’t wait for its arrival – happily situated in an abandoned garage at the bottom of Kloof Street (right next to the offices at Condé Nast, which is where I’ve been spending most of my time). Perfect.

I spoke to Andy about his new venture – and threw in a couple of pertinent questions, just for good measure…

Who is ‘Frankie’?

Shaun Bond [of franc. creative consulting] and I have been friends for some time. Frankie is actually Shaun and his wife Daniella’s little baby girl. Well … Frances is more accurate, but we all call her Frankie. That little thing has been to the farms with us, been plonked in between bandsaws at butcheries, checked out carcasses and more. She’s hard-core and she’s been part of the journey.  It was only fair to give her some credit.

What is Frankie’s [Shaun’s] involvement in Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants (ffmm)?

We work together (consulting for restaurants, wineries etc.)  in a branding capacity. The guy is a genius when it comes to spatial design. He’s a 50% partner in ffmm. We see the value of creating a brand and a community – and it certainly helps that my wife Nicole [of the Lazy Foxes] is a graphic designer.

The store is an ex-garage. Assuming it’s going to be a deli-style countertop shop?

The core of the business is sales made online. The shop will then be a place for people to collect their orders. That said, we’re expecting some walk-in trade, so we’ll have some stock for guys and girls who are looking to take care of a meat craving. We don’t want to be a deli with a whole lot of products, but we will have some pretty incredible farm butter and free-range eggs.

Any extras? Coffee, a few tables? Or purely ‘butcher’?

Some craft beer, interesting wines and coffee will be available. We’re also exploring the option of cooking a few meals there on certain days. Simple stuff like pork and chorizo burgers, chilli con carne, braised brisket rolls etc.

Who are your main suppliers?

It’s a bit early to say, but at the moment we’re working closely with Bill Riley Meat and Richard Bosman to help us with the joint work and product development.

Will you be doing speciality meats? Quail, duck, venison, rabbit…

We’re definitely going to be doing speciality items, yes.

So, you done with blogging?
No. The new site [mentioned in Jamie Who’s last post for Aficionado] is a blog. My own one. It should be up and running pretty soon.

Some bloggers were offended by the opening line of your last post on Aficionado: “Having had the opportunity of working with some great WRITERS (not bloggers – to me they are not the same thing)”. Any comment?

I didn’t mean to offend anybody with that line. What I’ve learned is that the really talented bloggers (people like Jane-Anne Hobbs, Colleen Grove, Nina Timm, Ishay Govender etc.) are doing it for the right reason: because they love it. They’re passionate and have their priorities in place. They’re not doing it to get a free meal or a press pack, which is a slippery slope – especially if you’ve never been published and are giving potentially damaging opinions on people’s businesses. At Aficionado we were all contributing writers for other magazines. Moving forward I really just want to carry on writing for the fun of it online, and contribute to other media when I can. That’s what I meant by being writers, not bloggers. People like Sam Woulidge, Dave Cope, Harry Reginald, Christian Eedes etc. are brilliant writers who happen to blog. That’s the difference.

Back to ffmm. You’ve been known in the industry as someone who ‘eats ethically’. Is this what started ffmm?

For me, the world is eating way too much meat. Because of the ridiculous demand farming has become about profits and bottom lines, instead of quality. Animals are now pumped with growth hormones to force what should be a natural process. Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants has found farmers who aren’t doing that. People who really, sincerely care about their animals. We want to show people the difference, and we want to get them to ask a few questions. Ironically, we want people to eat less meat. But we also want them to eat proper meat.

 

Sounds good to me. Visit ffmm.co.za to keep informed on the opening date or follow @FrankieFenner on Twitter.

One Response to “Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants”

  1. Misty November 8, 2011 at 12:22 pm #

    This is very exciting news! I’ll feel less guilty eating meat next to my vegetarian husband if it was “proper” meat, and I always worry about all the hormones etc in the supermarket meat when feeding it to my meat-loving son.

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