Three generations of preserving tradition coupled with excellence in food
Field To Fork is a family-owned and operated food business started by Paula Horwitz in 2014. Together with her husband Gary, they shared over 50 years of collective experience in the food industry. They were not going to open a conventional butcher shop.
All our lamb & beef is grass-fed and pasture raised.
Our pork products are all sow cage free.
All meat products are hormone and chemical free.
The Swiss Deli
Paula and Gary arrived from their native South Africa in 1986 and have innovated in the Australian food industry ever since. In 1987, they bought Swiss Deli on Glebe Point Road. They worked together behind the counter 7 days a week, using their spare time to brush up knowledge on the imported cheeses, cured meats and condiments the deli already sold to their established clientele. Gary, being a trained chef, started experimenting with his culinary skills in lunch service to the working locale. Swiss Deli began to serve unique gourmet sandwiches made-to-order, chargrilled chicken with Gary’s homemade peri-peri sauce and fresh, warm salads with dressings made every morning. In the late 80s, no suburban deli in Sydney had these offers. Setting the tone for what was to come, Swiss Deli was not a conventional deli. 20 years later, Paula and Gary had a chain of 40 Swiss Deli, Bayswiss and Bayteak stores spread across the country (and, for that matter, 3 sons; Joshua, David and Samuel). They added homeware and furniture offerings over the years, but one thing remained the same: an unwavering commitment to excellent food. In 2020, Joshua is employed full-time with Field To Fork and, every now and then, a customer will say; “you know, I used to buy these from your mother in Glebe in 1989”. It fills us with pride. If you’ve got customers returning after 30 years, you’re doing something right.
Gary and Paula raised their children in the 1990s. Gas-sealed supermarket bought plastic trays of homogenous pink beef mince was the norm for spag bowl in almost every household. Gary, having worked in Michelin 2 Star restaurants in London, realized something was wrong. Meat shouldn’t be watery, grey and tasteless. They began to notice a few problems with the Australian meat industry. If you use supermarket gas-packs, I implore you to visit an independent butcher and realize the difference for yourself. Once you’ve cooked with mince that has been prepared by a butcher, knowledgeable and skilled in the craft, using meat that has been raised by caring famers, you will never go back. Not only does it taste better, ours is raised with no hormones, growth promoters or antibiotics, either. It’s better for you and it’s better for your family.
The Monday Morning Cooking Club
Paula was a founding member of the Monday Morning Cooking Club. In 2005, 6 mothers set out on a mission to find the best recipes, from the best cooks in Sydney’s Jewish community. The club started to meet every Monday morning – to chop and stir, mince and roll, roast and bake, fry and boil. The asked everyone they knew, again and again; “who is the best cook you know?”. Their goal was, and remains, to collect, test, curate, share and preserve those treasured recipes from the older generation for our generation, and from our generation for the future. Years of careful selecting resulted in their first cookbook, Monday Morning Cooking Club, released in 2011. Since then, the sisterhood have released The Feast Goes On, ‘It’s Always About The Food’ and the recently released Now For Something Sweet. The MMCC is a not-for-profit and all profits are donated to various charities. They have proudly donated over a million dollars from book sales. Paula stepped down from the Club in 2014 for the next stage in her journey, but the Monday Morning Cooking Club will always be a proud memory of hers and she will forever be part of the Sisterhood. It is worth noting that many recipes from the Club are used in our homestyle meals; the balsamic lamb shanks, chicken and barley soup, Auntie Rae’s meatloaf, Gary’s peri-peri sauce, and many, many more.
Field To Fork
Field To Fork was started in 2014 with one goal; deliver the best free-range, chemical and antibiotic free meat on the market. We identified two major issues in the meat industry.
Firstly, lack of transparency. Buying meat shouldn’t be about buying a gas-filled plastic pack. It’s about the animals. It’s about the farmers. It’s about the journey it’s made to your fork. We realized customers had no idea what they were buying, where it came from and whether it was actually free-range or if it was just labeled as such. We decided that if we were going to open a butchery, we wanted our customers to know exactly where their meat was coming from, and exactly what kind of life the animal lived before it made it to the plate. Our beef and lamb is grass-fed and farm raised in Swan Hill, Victoria. Our pork has daily access to the outdoors and is, of course, sow-stall free. Our chicken is free-range and hormone & antibiotic free.
The second issue: wastage. Meat is a highly perishable product. If not handled correctly, it becomes inedible in a matter of hours. Traditionally, butcher shops would handle their wastage by mincing all less-desirable cuts along with reserved trim and gristle and making them into sausages. Whatever wasn’t sold would go into the bin. Day after day, week after week. One of the cornerstones of sustainability is reducing our overall consumption by ensuring every animal is used from tip to tail, with nothing wasted. Gary and Paula wanted to use what they had learnt in the Swiss Deli days. No one was providing wholesome, homestyle meals using top quality free-range meat. We built state-of-the-art kitchen facilities on our premises. We employed knowledgeable cooks that knew how to make the most out of lesser cuts. From Day 1 we began to cook a range of homestyle meals to be sold alongside our traditional butchery items. Today, you can you buy superb grass-fed steaks, roasts, sausages and BBQ goodies. If, however, you don’t feel like cooking, you can pick up slow roasted shoulders of lamb, beouf bourginion, lasanga, Tuscan meatballs and the roast veggies & sides to go along with it. The beauty of Field To Fork is that every piece of meat we buy into the shop is sent to a happy home. We use everything in our delicious curries, stews, pies and roasts. Nothing goes in the bin. This means a lot to us.
Biltong, Boerwors and Droewors.
Gary and Paula’s South African heritage remains with them, always. As a boy, Gary learned to make biltong with his father, Alec. Biltong is a dried and cured meat snack dating back to the days of of the Voortrekkers (Dutch ‘pioneers’ or frontiersmen) in colonial South Africa. Having no means of refrigeration, the Voortrekkers needed a way of preserving food for long journeys. In the colder months, they would cure game meat with vinegar and salt and hang the strips to dry. The result was biltong; a protein rich food that could be stored for months at a time.
Gary and Alec made biltong with whatever they could get their hands on, usually fresh springbok or buffalo from friend’s farms. The meat was sliced, salted, seasoned and cured to be hung in their laundry room to dry.
Alec’s recipe is still used at Field To Fork, however now, instead of springbok or buffalo, we use grass-fed Australian Angus beef. In case you were worried, we don’t make our biltong in a suburban laundry. Both shops have purpose-built dehydrating chambers installed with UV lights to destroy any wayward bacteria. Our biltong is a best-seller at both shops. If there was a Biltong Competition in Sydney, we’d be the first to enter. We think ours stands up to the best you can get, South Africa included.
Another of our South African favourites is our house-made boerwors. Boerwors is a traditional South African sausage and an important part of their national cuisine. The name derives from the Afrikaans/Dutch words for ‘farmer’ (boer) and ‘sausage’ (wors). Quite literally, it is a farmer’s sausage. Made with whatever meats they could source, it usually contained beef as well as lamb, pork and game, in any combination. We only °use Angus beef chuck steak in our ‘boerie’. We find the sausage benefits from a lower fat content than most sausages. We use a simple, old-fashioned spice recipe; black pepper, coriander seeds, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Boerwors is delicious, try ours grilled on the barbie and served with crustry bread rolls and chunky tomato chutney (or monkeygland sauce if you’re feeling lekker!).
We also make a range of droewors, like biltong, but in sausage form. The name is also quite literal; ‘droe’ meaning dry and ‘wors’ meaning sausage. It is all beef, low in fat and ready to snap and snack. Try Jason’s peri-peri droewors. We routinely get told it’s the best spicy droeie you can get.
The Butcher’s Grill
In 2016 it was time to expand. A site had become available in Vaucluse and it was the perfect place for our second location. Field To Fork Vaucluse was born. More suburban than the Bondi location, the new store was indoors and had excellent facilities for us to try new things. We built a dry-aging room and a deli cabinet alongside the tried-and-tested biltong chamber and traditional butcher’s display. The best thing about the new location, however, was the site just two doors down. Another shop shared the same back entrance and coolroom. It was time for the next stage in the journey. We decided to open an eatery where customers could enjoy our products hot, fresh and in perfect condition. The Butcher’s Grill opened in November 2016. The same steaks prepared and sold just next door could now be cooked to our customer’s liking. In The Butcher’s Grill, our superb free-range, grass-fed, hormone and antibiotic-free meat becomes outstanding burgers, BBQ ribs and hot sandwiches. In Paula’s words; “we cook what we sell, we sell what we cook”.