Smoking, grilling and roasting has never looked more appealing than in Andy Fenner’s 'Meat Manifesto'.
When it comes to meat, there is a divide between those who prefer red and white. Beyond that, meat lovers also look at the nutritional merits of the different cuts.

And the way people enjoy their meat prepared - curried, stewed, grilled, roasted or braaied - is another factor.

The options are endless.

That’s where knowledge plays a crucial role - and Andy Fenner’s Meat Manifesto becomes the perfect bible.

Fenner has an interesting background. He reveals: “I studied economics (and I use the term loosely here) and I have a postgrad in advertising. I somehow ended up in property but soon realised it wasn’t for me.

“Life was cushy but I just didn’t feel satisfied. I wanted to do something creative and began writing about food. I was the clichéd food blogger, hustling around trying to monetise their work.

“Luckily, my writing got picked up and I got hired by a few magazines as a freelancer. I then formed a brand consultancy with my wife, Nicole. She’s a graphic designer and we built up a portfolio of chefs, wineries and restaurants as clients. I then got hired by a major retailer to work on their meat marketing and that’s where the meat journey started.

“I hated what I saw. Words like ‘free range’ being used flippantly and a general sense of ‘this is bullsh*t’ that I couldn’t help but feel. I left that job and started working on Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants (FFMM).”

His first book, Taking It Easy, featured 20 of his favourite chefs, cooking at home for friends and family.

Explaining the genesis of Meat Manifesto, Fenner shares: “This one is way, way more personal though. Nicole and I opened FFMM six years ago, with the overriding philosophy that we believe people want to know where their food comes from and that they have a right to ask. Meat Manifesto is a vehicle for us to challenge people to re-examine the way they buy, eat and cook meat, which we do every day with our stores.

Smoking, grilling and roasting has never looked more appealing than in Andy Fenner’s 'Meat Manifesto'.

“When we started doing the groundwork for FFMM, I took a personal oath not to eat any meat unless the person selling it could tell me where it came from. I was shocked at how few could, which led to an extended period of eating no meat. The shop - and now the book - is a way of inviting people to adopt a similar philosophy.”

The book offers a comprehensive look at beef, pork, lamb, venison, poultry and even goat and biltong. He offers cooking techniques, insider techniques, insight into the meat industry and agricultural practices. And he advises on the tools you need and tips on meat and wine pairing.

Of course, the book is also packed with 65 delicious recipes; one of his favourite recipes being the Bavette with Chimichurri.

There is an entire chapter dedicated to people being their own butcher. Fenner explains, “The thinking was to show people that they can actually save a lot of money by planning ahead and by buying larger amounts of meat, to break down at home.

“I drew inspiration from old-school tannies who would buy a whole lamb (or half a lamb) and have it cut up into pieces to be kept in their freezer on the farm. People have lost touch with meat.”

While the new shop they opened last week is keeping him busy, he did have this piece of advice: “People eat too much of it. I want people to eat less meat but better meat. Ask more questions.

“Life’s too short for cheap meat, cheap coffee or cheap wine. If you buy cheap meat, ask yourself why it was cheap. You won’t like the answer!”

Andy Fenner’s Meat Manifesto is published by Quivertree Publications and retails for R550.