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The Art of the Parisian Butcher's Customer Service

You know the feeling when you come across unexpected and remarkable customer service? You are surprised and delighted. Almost euphoric. Stunned, yet very pleased and appreciative.

That is what purchasing meat from the Parisian butchers at Boucherie Du Marais feels like. They excel at supreme quality and provide only the freshest of meats. But, purchasing from them is taken to an entirely different level because they practice the art of superior customer service.

On my last trip to Paris, I was living in a small quaint apartment in the Le Marias district in the 4th arrondissement. As most Parisian do, I did my daily food shopping at my local boulangerie, fromagerie, patisserie and volailler. These merchants strive to provide quality food and goods in order to insure their customers are always satisfied and will return to purchase from them, basically forever. Great friendships and comradery are often developed over time between the customer and the merchant.

However, it was at my local boucherie that I first experienced this incredible customer service. With my faltering French, I asked the butcher for a four bone-in rack of lamb. I picked a fresh rack out of the sparkling clean display case and the butcher proceeded to cut the lamb into a four bone-in piece for me. He turned around and went to work with his butcher knife (I wasn’t quite sure what he was doing at this point) then wrapped it up in brown butcher paper and handed it to me. I was delighted and excited to cook my rack of lamb for the evening in my Parisian kitchen.

This is what I found when I opened the precious package when I returned to my apartment, preparing to cook the lamb:

The butcher had “frenched” the bones (removed the excess fat and meat from the bones) and put white paper frills on the end of the bones.

Then he trimmed off the bone “shield” portion of the back of the ribs and tied it back on with cotton butcher string, allowing it to impart more robust flavor as the rack of lamb roasts and giving the rack stability when it cooks.

I also discovered he hadn’t discarded the trimmings he had removed, allowing me the opportunity to make a sauce with the left over pieces or roast it with the rack for added flavor.

By this time, I was so delighted with this level of care and customer service, that I became even more overjoyed to discover one last detail he had included; he provided handwritten cooking instructions on the inside piece of white butcher paper the lamb was wrapped in. Just incredible!

Now this was over-the-top customer service! To include these minor, yet incredibly important details was very surprising and welcomed. But, I didn’t even know he had included them until I was home. His customer service excellence reached right out to me even in my own kitchen, and he knew it would have that effect on me. Which butcher would you return to for your next meat purchase? I know where I’m going!

I felt overjoyed and rather warm all over, that someone would care so much about my small and rather insignificant lamb purchase. I then proceeded to roast my rack of lamb. It was simply delicious, with a satisfying crunchy gratin on the outside and was moist and tender throughout. I appreciated and relished the art of the Parisian butcher’s customer service with every satisfying bite.

Guest Blog Written by PJC Chef Keith Morrison


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