Jenny Luna
Special to the Sun

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January 23, 2014
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Meet Your Merchant | Chefs exit kitchen, open butcher shop

There’s a new butcher in town.

Sausages and rib eye, roasts and short ribs, ground round and tri tip are some of the meats offered at Mountain Valley Meats in The Rock shopping center in Truckee. Long-time friends Jess Curtis and Brandon Uresky teamed up and opened the butcher shop last December.

With a combined 35 years in the food industry, Jess and Brandon look forward to working with a variety of fresh meats, new customers, and other local businesses.

“We’re locals and we want to serve locals, second homeowners and tourists,” Jess said.

Both accredited chefs, the duo is happy to be out of the restaurant business. With Mountain Valley Meats Brandon and Jess are still able to work with food and customers on a daily basis.

“My first job was as a butcher and I missed handling meats,” Brandon said. “And working in a kitchen gets old.”

An accredited chef from the Oregon Culinary Institute in Portland, Brandon’s 20 years of experience lead him to be Northstar’s Executive Chef for the 2012/2013 season. Jess studied at San Francisco’s California Culinary Academy and worked in Menlo Park cutting meats and making sausage.

Both butchers said they always enjoyed working with meats more than the fast-paced restaurant work.

“It’s not as stressful as working in a kitchen,” Brandon said. “Working in a kitchen when you’re buried by tickets and it’s 100 degrees back there and you’re sweating bullets … you know that used to be fun, but I’m 38-years-old and it’s not that fun anymore.”

Brandon said the pressure is a lot less being the butcher too. He gets creative stuffing flank steaks or inventing original sausages, but the cooking is up to the customer.

“If you burn the meat it’s not my fault,” he said with a laugh.

CAN YOU SAY SAUSAGES?

Sausages are the specialty at Mountain Valley Meats, and currently the most popular item. Jess said Mountain Valley Meats uses seasonal produce when creating concepts for the sausages and meat marinades.

Jagermeister and pear is cleverly combined with pork and herbs and stuffed into a casing for a seasonal flair.

Brandon also created a pot sticker sausage which combines pork with soy, ginger, green onions and toasted sesame seeds.

And the taste of a bowl of chili is captured in the spicy chili cilantro sausage.

Both Jess and Brandon taste their creations to ensure for consistency and quality control.

“We love meat,” Jess said. “Everyone once and a while we get giddy about something that comes in.”

Brandon and Jess said with the amount of meat they handle daily, their home cooking habits have adjusted a bit.

“If we go out we often order tofu,” Jess said.

“I have a lot more salads at home,” added Brandon as he sipped on a bottle of Kombucha.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE

As the shop grows, Jess and Brandon hope to bring in more retail items such as specialty salts and rubs, cheeses and baguettes and different marinades. Brandon said he sees Mountain Valley Meats as “not a full market, but having the essentials.” Jess also has her hopes set on a mural with funny farm scenes and Brandon wants to be sure a flock of flying pigs is painted.

Mountain Valley Meats also teams up with breweries like Mammoth Brewing Company or Tahoe Winery for pairing dinners. Wednesday, Feb. 19 Mountain Valley Meats will co-host a wine and sausage pairing dinner at Tahoe Winery in Truckee.

The butcher shop is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., although Jess and Brandon are willing to sell meat as long as they are there.

“If you see us back here we’re open,” Brandon said.

Mountain Valley Meats’s sausages can also be found on the menus at Fifty Fifty Brewery and Mellow Fellow in Kings Beach and in Truckee.

Jenny Luna is a freelance reporter for the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza and Sierra Sun newspapers. She may be reached at jluna0928@gmail.com.

“My first job was as a butcher and I missed handling meats. And working in a kitchen gets old.”
Brandon Uresky
Co owner of Mountain Valley Meats


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jan 23, 2014 05:05PM Published Jan 23, 2014 11:36AM Copyright 2014 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.