Arts and Calves: 4505 Meats, Kent Schoberle

0 Posted by - October 19, 2012 - Back to School, Fall 2012, feast, Issue 30, Jessica Goldman Foung, Mission, Uncategorized

Kent Schoberle of 4505 Meats • Photo by Stacy Ventura


“We want to change the way people buy their protein,” Schoberle says. “We want people to come and butcher their meat, fill the freezer with 15 to 100 pounds of it, and come back when it’s done.”

STUDENT PROFILE: De-boning novices to Whole Foods clerks.

REQUIRED READING: Whole Beast Butchery

REQUIRED EATING: Duck Sticks, Burger Box. Turducken (Thanksgiving only)

Which came first, the chicharrones or the pig? At its core, the answer seems obvious—the pig. But ask instead how many chicharrones come from a single hog—or, better yet, how many T-bones come from a single cow—and then you have something to ponder.

After 15 years of fine dining, 4505 founder Ryan Farr left a Michelin kitchen for a nonprofit organization, teaching professional skills to those reentering the workforce. It was here that whole animal butchery (and instruction) caught his attention.

“Not too many people were doing it at the time,” says Kent Schoberle, current 4505 culinary cohost. “But there was public interest in learning more about it.” To test enthusiasm, Farr began giving butchery demos at small events and even at bars, realizing quickly that people wanted to roll up their sleeves with him. And with the help of the La Cocina kitchen, he offered his first butchery classes, which is where Schoberle met Farr. And also where those chicharrones eventually enter the picture.

While the crispy pig skins were hot sellers at the farmers market, the passion for this meaty subject proved an equally hot ticket. So much so that Schoberle left his animation job to join Farr and help expand the course offerings. A move not so far out of his wheelhouse as Schoberle worked in a high-end Berkeley restaurant during college, getting schooled in local, seasonal and sustainable concepts.

“Food always remained something dear to me,” he says. “And since I was building digital creatures I was already well versed in anatomy and musculature. Which is, in a sense, what I am doing now. I can just eat the product.”

And that’s exactly where Farr and Schoberle hope to take 4505 in the future—back to people’s homes. At the moment, Schoberle says they don’t experience much return enrollment. But if the focus of classes became as much about the procurement of fresh meat as it is about the guidance in breaking it down, then perhaps people would come back every few months.

“We want to change the way people buy their protein,” Schoberle says. “We want people to come and butcher their meat, fill the freezer with 15 to 100 pounds of it, and come back when it’s done.”

Until then, classes remain centered on anatomy. “We show people the breakdown and the cuts. We also spend a good amount of time discussing the best way to prepare the meat. Because you’re not likely to continue learning and put in the effort if it doesn’t taste good.”

But once the aprons come off, he hopes that it’s not just the taste that lingers. “The next time a student sees a hanger steak on a menu, maybe they’ll remember there is only one hanger steak per cow. Meaning 30 hanger steaks requires 30 cows.” Which raises a lot of questions—like what happens to all that other meat?—and possibly leads to different choices at the restaurant and at the store.

“We hope to broaden perspective and behavior in that regard,” Schoberle says. “And to encourage people to think of the whole animal and not just the cut.”


This content was published in the Fall 2012 issue of Edible San Francisco Magazine. © 2012 Edible San Francisco This website and its content is a copyrighted work of Edible Communities, Inc. © 2012. All rights reserved. You may not, except with our express written consent, distribute or commercially exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it on any other website or other electronic or printed form.

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Jessica Goldman Foung

Jessica writes for Edible San Francisco,, and hosts the blog on keeping a limitless low-sodium life. She will release a low-sodium cookbook (Bloody Marys and all) with Wiley Publishing in January 2013 and blogs for the National Kidney Foundation and Huffington Post.

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1 Comment

  • Back to School | Edible San Francisco October 19, 2012 - 9:17 pm Reply

    [...] Arts and Calves: 4505 Meats, Kent Schoberle [...]

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