After 34 years behind the butcher’s block, Sandy Tenkate’s dream of owning his own business has finally come true.
When the opportunity came up to purchase Monaro Meats in Cooma, Sandy jumped at the chance to make the move from Bungendore.
After working for 11 years at Bungendore Country Butchery, he and his wife Tafline and their three young children sold their home, packed up and set off for a new life in the mountains.
Sandy said it felt surreal to walk through his own butcher shop door when he took over from Lloyd Venables and Tony Brooks on 4 April.
“It was a little overwhelming, but also very inspiring to think that I’m finally working for myself,” he said.
The couple had the chance to buy a shop a few years back which fell through, but it planted the idea in their minds.
“We have friends in the Cooma area and we’ve always loved the location, so when the opportunity came up, we couldn’t pass it up,” Sandy added.
While he plans to introduce some new products to entice younger people who may not normally go to a butcher shop, Sandy doesn’t want to change what the locals love about Monaro Meats.
“Not much needs to change as the boys have been doing such a great job for the last 30 plus years,” he said.
Born in New Zealand, Sandy’s family moved to Australia when he was nine-months-old and he grew up on the South Coast, spending time surf lifesaving at Mollymook Beach and camping, hiking and fishing in the local forests.
He began his career as an apprentice at Ulladulla Butchery and went on to work in the boning room at Milton District Meats before moving to Canberra with a bunch of butcher mates. He worked at Vodusek Meats and Lachlan Valley Meats.
While living in Canberra, Sandy met Tafline and the couple enjoyed a stint on the North Coast where Sandy worked at Ballina Fair Butchery before they bought their first home at Lake Conjola and he returned to Franklins Butchery and Milton District Meats.
Eleven years ago they sold up and moved to Bungendore, where they started a family and made many close friends in the community. Sandy enjoyed being back in a real country-style butchery again.
He’s passionate about his craft, and says local butcher shops should be an “institution in every town”.
“It’s sad to see supermarkets taking over in many of the larger towns and cities,” Sandy said.
“Your local butchery is not just about selling meat, it’s an experience – you can have a laugh, share some local gossip and get advice and recipe ideas.
“I love the friendly banter and building that relationship with the customers.
“It’s a privilege to be able to supply fresh, quality meat for families to enjoy.”
The Tenkates are looking forward to becoming involved in the Cooma community and Sandy said they had been welcomed by locals with open arms.
They’re expecting a busy winter, but he says Cooma is busy all year around now, with walkers, mountain bikers and foodies enjoying what the region has to offer.
A self-confessed foodie, Sandy believes fresh is best, and said it was crucial to sell local produce and support local farmers wherever possible.
He sources meat from Cowra and Canberra, as well as spice rubs from Merimbula, sauces from Eden, local dips, smallgoods and farm-fresh eggs.
“We have a range of flavoured sausages, all your standard cuts of meat and plan to introduce some new lines over time, with quick-cook dinner ideas for the busy week days,” Sandy said.
Local butcher Justin Riley is staying on at Monaro Meats and Sam Cooke has joined the new team.
Tafline is looking after the books while juggling the three kids’ school and activities and continuing to work for her employer of 11 years, the Vikings group in Canberra.
Original Article published by Katrina Condie on About Regional.