Meat our team – say hello to Connor Carrick !
Caroline – Senior Marketing Creative at Cranstons, recently had a chat with Connor Carrick over couple of lattes in the Café Oswalds.
At just 22 years old, Connor’s Cranstons journey began in 2015 as a part-time student, working in the fruit and veg section during weekends. However, his story didn’t stop there. Driven by dedication and a passion for working with food, he managed to secure an apprenticeship at Cranstons. Guided by experienced mentors, he embarked on a flavourful butcher career; mastering the art of butchery.
Tell me a bit about your journey here at Cranstons, when did you start?
My journey started in 2015 when I took on a part-time role working weekends in the fruit and veg section at Cranstons. Back then, it was just a student job, and little did I know the incredible path it would set me on. The world of butchery really intrigued me, and after two years of dedicated work, I was fortunate enough to secure an apprenticeship in butchery. That’s when my formal training in butchery began, and from that point on, I was hooked!
Fast forward to 2023, and I’ve reached another milestone. I was promoted to the position of supervisor, which has been an exciting step forward in my career. It’s an honour to take on more responsibility and contribute to the growth of the business. Looking back, I’m grateful for every step of this journey – from those initial weekends, to becoming a supervisor, each experience has shaped me into the passionate butcher I am today.
What are the main challenges you face in your role?
Being a young person in the world of butchery certainly comes with its own set of dynamics, both positive and challenging. My youth brings a fresh perspective to the traditional art of butchery. In an industry deeply rooted in tradition, I’ve been able to introduce ideas that resonate with a younger generation of customers.
However, being a young butcher sometimes leads to scepticism from certain customers. On occasion, there’s a perception that my age might correlate with a lack of experience or knowledge. I recall an instance when a customer was hesitant to take advice from me on choosing the right cut, assuming that I might not have the expertise. In such situations, I take it as an opportunity to showcase my skills and understanding, often surprising them with my level of expertise and commitment to the craft.
In essence, while my youth might occasionally be met with scepticism, I see it as a chance to prove my capabilities and bridge the gap between traditional values and contemporary approaches in the world of butchery.
How have you learnt your skills?
Much of my learning came from hands-on experience and mentorship.
David Sutton, a Cranstons master butcher, became my mentor during this journey. His guidance and expertise provided me with invaluable insights into the art of butchery.
Also, I used to spend two days a week at our traditional butcher’s shop on King Street in Penrith, as the only trained butcher in the shop I had to manage everything independently. This practical training taught me valuable skills, from precise cutting techniques to managing a shop effectively.
What motivates you in your working life?
One of my biggest motivations is the pride I take in maintaining the quality and presentation of the meat counter. Every piece I prepare is a reflection of my commitment to my craft.
At the moment I am really excited about the Food Hall refurbishment project which kicks off on the 4th September. I will be heavily involved in co-ordinating the butchery department work throughout the 5 phases of the refurbishment as the food hall will trade throughout. I can’t wait to see the transformed food hall which will make the Cranstons shopping experience even better.
What are your ambitions – both in work and life?
At this point in my life, I’m focusing on building a strong foundation. I’ve already taken a significant step by moving out at a young age and establishing my own space. Staying in Cumbria is important to me; it’s where I have my roots and where I feel a strong ties to the area. While I’m currently enjoying being 22 and embracing the freedom it brings, I look forward to the possibility of having a family of my own someday.
I haven’t laid out a comprehensive life plan like some people might have by the time they’re 22. But that doesn’t bother me. I believe life is a journey, and I’m open to exploring opportunities and adapting to whatever comes my way. I’m not worried about having it all figured out at this point – I’m just focused on living my best life and making the most of each experience.
Professionally, my ambition is to keep moving up the ranks within the company. I’m dedicated to improving my skills and contributing to the success of Cranstons. As I continue to gain experience and take on more responsibilities. My aim is to make a meaningful impact on the business.
Who do you admire in the business world?
Gordon Ramsay is someone I look up to. His culinary achievements and unrelenting drive are truly inspiring.
Do you have a role model?
I’d have to say my parents. Their work ethic, values, and support have shaped me into the person I am today.
What do you see yourself doing in 10 years’ time?
In a decade, I envision myself perhaps taking charge of a Cranston’s shop, maybe in a new location if there’s an opportunity. I would like to continue to climb up the ranks within the company, ensuring that the principles of quality and customer service are upheld.
What would your advice be to other young people setting out on their career?
My advice would be to get into the workforce as soon as possible. Apprenticeships are invaluable opportunities that provide practical skills and knowledge. Show up to work with pride, embrace a strong work ethic, and always be eager to learn. Remember, age shouldn’t define your capabilities; it’s your passion and dedication that truly matter.
That’s great Connor, now time for the quick-fire round – my favourite!
If you could have a superpower for a day, what would it be ?!
Read people’s mind.
If you were stranded on a desert island and could only bring three items, what would they be?
Axe, matches and antibiotics.
What is your go to lazy dinner
Would you rather travel to the past or to the future?
What is your guilty pleasure?
Justin Bieber …
Least favourite food?
Name the best food to eat on a first date
Cranstons Rib Eye Steaks
You get to pick someone to eat brunch with, dead or alive, fictional or historical. Who is it, and why
Sir Alex Ferguson – I would love to ask him lots of questions about Man United!