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A touch of Frosty: meet the most opinionated butcher in Manchester?

Apart from Fred ‘I say, I say’ Elliot, Lee Horsley Frost, or Frosty to his 12,000 Twitter followers, must be the most famous butcher in town. I sat down for a drink and chewed the fat with Lee Frost, pun most definitely intended

He’s not just an opinionated tweeter. He’s also an open-minded craftsman with a reputation for excellence.

Lee has been up since 3 am when I meet him at the Lead Station where he’s well known to staff. Despite having never met him before, I feel like I already know ‘Frosty’ from his Twitter feed. He tells me he’s off to Simon Rimmer’s next. “The inventor of pulled pork?” I ask. “That’s a load of bullshit, but the lad’s got away with it,” he replies. Yep, it’s definitely him.

He’s not a man to mince his words. Just his meat. Here are some of the thoughts of Chairman Frosty.

On social media and his relationship with vegetarians/vegans

Social media has changed everything. People get wound up very easily on Twitter but I don’t have a problem with vegetarians or vegans. Just the militant ones. They’re largely uneducated and are just trying to scare people. Of course they always have a go at me on Twitter as I shoot regularly. From February to October I give away around 1,000 ducks, pheasants and partridges away for free to the people of Chorlton – always attracts a bit of attention from the militant vegans.

I’ve started tweeting my ‘view from the block’ giving people a snapshot of my start at 3:30 in the morning. Paul McCartney can keep his sheep alive after a certain age if he wants to, but to me that’s cruel – the vegans don’t often have a reply to that.

On butchers vs. supermarkets

All our meat is handpicked by me or my dad, Jack. He’s semi-retired but he still goes to the market. Absolutely nothing is delivered to us that we haven’t picked. That’s why customers trust us over supermarkets. I went in Tesco a few weeks ago and the ‘butcher’ was cutting the meat the wrong way. He didn’t have a clue what I was on about.

It’s impossible to have good meat on supermarket scales. Their sales are falling and people are coming back to the high street. I absolutely loved the horse meat scandal and we certainly made the most of it on Twitter. I wasn’t surprised by it at all. We knew horses were being killed and they weren’t being offered to us so it had to be for ‘commercial meat.’ Disgusting.

Happy cattle taste better. Somestress the cattle out by hitting them with sticks. Their adrenaline makes them tense up, making for dark and tough meat. Not to mention it’s cruel. The abattoir we use kills 20 a day. The supermarkets put more like 2,000 animals though a day. Scroll through their twitter feeds. Sheer complaints. We never get any complaints about our meat.

On abattoirs

My first experience in an abattoir was when I was six years old and it was frightening. It’s something I think every meat eater should do. I’ve taken restaurant staff from places like Almost Famous and I recently took students from Trafford College to Heartshead Meats and they were fantastic.

The animals are killed humanly. They’re dispatched, bled, skinned and split – it’s never nice to see but we’re number one in the world for animal welfare. Vegans thinks this it’s cruel but it’s not. It’s cruel to leave them in fields until they’re into their old age.

On meat: steaks, burgers, chicken nuggets and donner kebabs

Everyone’s entitled to their own taste, but I do think serving steak well done is a shame. When you get a good steak – well marbled, well-rested, fat running though it – it’s a waste to serve it well done. I’ve asked guests who are like that to let me cook them a medium/medium-rare steak to show them it doesn’t need to be meat in a pool of blood. The secret is to rest the steak for at least 15 minutes. That way the juices settle and when you cut through it the steak will be pink but with no blood gushing out because it’s been absorbed by the meat.

There are only two places in Manchester that I’d eat a kebab – Turkish Delights and Topkapi on Bridge St, solely because I know what’s gone into it. I know mutton and offal are common, but some places will use anything that’s about – livers and heart that are heavily seasoned with salt and breadcrumbs.

I was asked four years ago when the burger bubble will burst. My answer is still the same. It won’t. Burgers aren’t new, we’ve been eating them since the 1950’s. Frost’s supplied Wimpy’s when it was in Piccadilly Gardens. It was like the Almost Famous of its day.

I’ve not got a problem with McDonald’s either. I’ve had my fair few cheeseburgers from there – I wouldn’t be worried about eating them. Chicken nuggets are an entirely different matter.

Butcher to the stars

Chorlton is a great place to shop locally. We’ve had everyone coming in from footballers to Badly Drawn Boy and Bez. We’ve supplied Adele, Busted and even Prince with meat when they’ve played in Manchester. Quality sells itself. We regularly use couriers to supply places in London who can’t get the quality they’re after.

On Manchester’s missing Michelin star

The Michelin star makes no bastard difference to Manchester. We’ve got a lot of great chefs here. In the 60’s we supplied The French which was then Michelin starred.

Gordon Ramsey is on his way, I’m no big fan of his but it should be better than Jamie Oliver’s place. The food their was pretty terrible and they don’t use local suppliers – although they came to us when they were in the shit.

Frosty’s Top Picks for food:

The Parlour – Roast dinner

Bar San Juan – Tapas

The Beagle – Burgers and chicken

On chefs and the price of eating out

Part of a chef’s job should be to explain things to the customer, like why they shouldn’t eat their steak well done. But usually they don’t give a shit because they’re underpaid. Dining is cheap in Manchester. Restaurants need to charge more and pay their staff more.

A lot of restaurants ask me to educate staff on where the animals are sourced from, breeding and how to answer customers’ questions. I’m doing a live butchery demo at Simon Rimmer’s new place. I always have time to teach those who want to listen.

There are a few hipsters in Chorlton but I wouldn’t call it A NOT AN hipster area.

On dieting

I think people eat too much meat. Save it as a treat. I only eat meat four times a week, but when you do eat meat, don’t eat all that processed shit. Coming to a butchers is more expensive, but that’s why you have 2-3 veggie meals a week.

I’ve not tried coconut oil but I can recommend beef dripping for cooking things like chips in. It’s a natural product. Why only use goose fat at Christmas? I use it all year round. Fat means flavour.

I’ve lost 12 pounds in two weeks just by cutting out bread, carbs and sugar. I’m sleeping better and feel better.

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