WEDNESDAY, APR. 11: Before he ever set foot in the United States and established one of New York City’s iconic butcheries, Marc Sarrazin had already made his presence felt on the island of Bermuda.
Originally from the Charolles region of Burgandy, France, Sarrazin moved to the island in 1951, opening a small butcher shop where he built a strong relationship servicing local chefs.
More than half a century later and a decade since his passing, the relationship of Sarrazin’s revered DeBragga & Spitler butchery and island chefs is stronger than ever.
Recently, at the request of importer Butterfield & Vallis, a group of 15 Bermudian chefs spent time in New York City at the DeBragga facility, where Marc John Sarrazin, son of its founder, hosted the group on a tour and led a discussion on the protein industry.
“I think chefs have a perception of what a company is and what a plant is,” said Mr Sarrazin.
“The only contact they have with us is over the phone or when I’m on the island. To be able to walk through a modern facility, to see the 3,000 pieces of dry-aged product and how it’s cared for, I think it opened their eyes.
“I started working here when I was 17. I’m 57 now, and we’ve always done business in Bermuda as long as I’ve been here. We ship fresh meat there every week, and we’re proud of it.”
The visit, which included chefs from the Barracuda Grill, Swizzle Inn South Shore, Henry VII, Grotto Bay, Port of Call, Wahoo’s, Cambridge Beaches, Southampton Princess Fairmount, Mid Ocean Club, Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and Hamilton Princess, was borne out of Alun Hughes, president of Butterfield and Vallis.
The importer, along with the United States Meat Exportation Federation, helped pull the chefs together and make the trip a reality.
“We were looking for that wow factor that would really get the chefs’ attention,” said Liz Wunderlich, Caribbean manager for USMEF.
“We wanted to bring them out of their element. DeBragga had opened up a new facility, and this was really a good opportunity to tie in their commitment to Bermuda over the years.”
Chefs were provided a tour of the state-of-the-art DeBragga facility, which services some of New York City’s most famous restaurants and chefs and contains one of the largest dry-aging rooms of beef in the world.
Maggie O’Quinn, executive account manager for the Certified Angus Beef brand, which recently celebrated its 28th year with Butterfield and Vallis, discussed cattle export and pricing trends, as well as aging and sustainability trends in the industry.
Wunderlich also spoke about pork and lamb cuts and trends.
“It was a wonderful chance to bond with these chefs,” Mr Sarrazin said.
“I think people in the States would be surprised to see how advanced chefs in Bermuda are. They know the trends.
“They’ve got a real international flavor being tied into the UK and the whole of Europe, and they certainly appreciate quality, I can tell you that.”