Meet the Ballito Butcher

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Warwick and Amanda Taylor are the type of people that you can sit and chat to for hours and they have an energy that draws people in, regardless of who you are.

I was already a butcher when I met Amanda 23 years ago,” Warwick explains as he sips his black coffee. “I owned and ran a butchery in Pietermaritzburg and Amanda owned her own hairdressing salon. A butcher and a hairdresser — what else do you need?” he laughs. “My mom always told me to marry a meat or potato farmer — then I met Warwick, who had great hair and sold awesome meat. Two things that I love!” she playfully interjects. After many years in Pietermaritzburg during which time they travelled down to the North Coast for many a family holiday, an opportunity to buy and run the butchery at Pick ‘n Pay in Ballito presented itself as the perfect opportunity for the Taylors to move down to the coast and make Ballito their home.

For four years, Warwick loved his job at Pick ‘n Pay, but after a while of “going corporate”, he felt the need to get back to the roots of being a butcher, something that he really loved. It wasn’t until September 2016, while Warwick was flat on his back whilst recovering from a knee operation, that he realised he was “doing nothing” and had a “eureka!”’ moment. And so his dream of opening an old-school-style butchery was born. He and his wonderfully supportive wife, Amanda, poured heart, soul, mind, body and savings into the butchery. They toyed with the idea of opening a butchery in a free-standing building, but, after some searching, they decided on some space at the Ballito Junction where they were offered prime space in the new mall. After months of conceptualizing Taylor’s Meats & More, plus the invaluable help of their talented architect, Julia Rutherford, and the great Tony Wilson, their dream became a reality — Taylor’s became the one-stop-meat-shop for all your butchery needs!

Amanda, who is exceptionally artistic, was the brains behind the look and feel of their store. She wanted a rustic, authentic, industrial feel to the shop, with elements of wood, brick, steel and, of course, a chic black and white colour scheme, with a touch of glam added with elegant chandeliers. “I had no clue as to what I wanted, but with Amanda, Julia and Tony it was beautifully executed,” says Warwick.

Their doors opened in March 2017 and the reception was overwhelming, with the community showing how pleased everyone was to have an artisanal butchery. After some initial hesitation, the Taylor’s went on to open two more stores later that year — the first at the Parklane Superspar in Pietermaritzburg, and the second after they were approached by the Lifestyle Centre to open a store in The Market. “At first, we didn’t want to open a second store, but we fell in love with the concept of The Market and finally gave in after having said no three times! Looking back, it was the best thing that we did. People love The Market,” says Amanda.

Taylor’s provides the best-of-the-best natural, hormone- and steroid-free meats. “It’s simple,” says Warwick, “it just tastes better.” They offer everything from pork loin roasts, delicate cuts of rib-eye and fillet, tantalizing lamb chops, marinated chickens, to their mouth-watering “moving biltong”. The moving biltong is truly something. “Warwick loves it!” says Amanda. Tony has designed a rotisserie-type display that rotates their biltong and it’s quite spectacular, so much so that people come into the shop to compliment the Taylors and to video the display. “We are massive on biltong and we have three main flavours: the Kalahari, which is a beefy, smoky flavour, the Karoo, which is a traditional flavour with coriander, and the Kilmun, which is named after my father’s farm in Underberg, which is our house-brand. It has a coriander, salt and pepper flavour and we like to make this biltong fattier. Truly delicious,” explains Warwick.

Taylor’s wouldn’t be the same without the driving force behind it — their team. “Our teams at all three of our stores are remarkable. We’re involved in their lives on both a work and personal level and we love to teach them, uplift them, push them to strive to serve to the best of their ability and encourage them to be the best that they can be”, says Amanda.

The Taylors start their mornings with a staff meeting and prayer session. Their staff love integrating their lives and cultures to make a better team, all the while serving up the best quality products. “People expect good meat and service — they’re not hoping for it, they’re expecting it,” says Warwick.

Not only are Warwick and Amanda big on meat; they’re big on family and they have three daughters. Shae, the eldest, is a hairdresser and owns her own salon, Plush, at the Sage Centre. Kalynne, is a graphic designer for Full Cream Studios and also designed the Taylor’s logo. Jade, their youngest, is truly talented photographer and a co-founder of the Haze Film Company. She is currently studying and is Taylor’s social media consultant. As you can see Warwick is surrounded by artistic, powerful and beautiful women who all share one thing in common — their love for food and family.

Speaking of food, I bet you’re wondering what a typical braai with the Taylors entails? Well, it’s always the ultimate braai at the Taylor residence. It all starts when Warwick, with his love, passion and extensive knowledge of meat, moves to the braai to cook up boerewors, lamb chops or a good steak. “If Shae is there, there have to be pork sausages too,” says Amanda. While he is at the braai, you can find Amanda in the kitchen making her famous couscous, roasted butternut and biltong or bacon salad. And then it’s time to spend time with their daughters and their significant others, laughing, eating and enjoying life in their beautiful home on the Simbithi Eco Estate.

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