Paul Day is the driving force behind butcher’s shop ‘The Real Meat Society’ and Asian Bib Gourmand restaurant ‘Sansho’. He took some time out to tell us about them and explain his plans for the future.
Where did it all begin for you?
I was born in Staffordshire and by age 17 was an apprentice at a butcher’s shop and quickly progressed to owning my own business. I then had this notion that I wanted to cook and that London was THE place to learn, so I sold up and moved south. I started out working in a supermarket in Chinatown and from there secured jobs at various Chinese restaurants and finally at Nobu – all of which helped me develop my love of Asian cuisine.
What brought you to Prague?
Initially I was asked to help set up a restaurant here but that didn’t work out – by which time I had met my wife, so I had good reason to stay!
How did The Real Meat Society start?
I opened the butcher’s shop seven years ago (almost 2 years after Sansho) and it was much smaller than it is now. The two just went hand in glove really. I could source all the meat for both the shop and the restaurant knowing its provenance and being assured of the quality.
How has the shop grown?
When I opened The Real Meat Society no other butcher was sourcing their animals directly from the producer. Over the years we have worked with farmers and owners of smallholdings who tend to rear breeds native to Middle Europe, like the Prestice Black-Pied pig, for example. In 2017, with the advice and encouragement of the Czech National Veterinary Service, we became a fully certified bio/organic butchery. We are still the first and only one in the Czech Republic and it has been one of my proudest achievements. We also recently enlarged the shop so we have more preparation and storage areas, and space for some tables where people can enjoy dishes such as homemade hotdogs, kimchi buns and Scotch eggs. In time we would like to produce our own cured meat and charcuterie too. It’s still a work in progress…
And what are your plans for Sansho?
With the new larger space at The Real Meat Society, I took the difficult decision to close my other business, Maso a Kobliha, so that I could focus on one shop and one restaurant. We have some very exciting plans for Sansho, with a refurbishment and a new kitchen installation currently taking place; it will re-open in February after a one month closure – exactly 9 years since we first opened. We never sit still and already have plans for research trips to Thailand, as we really want to become stronger and achieve greater things. It’s important that we enjoy the job that we do and that we all keep learning. For this reason, the chefs also spend at least one day a week at the shop performing butchery and serving customers.