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Market Tour Tales - Meat & Monger

With our Hidden Gem Market tour guide,

Giovanna Walker

Gio is privy to a lot of inside info when it comes to our long list of traders. We asked her to compile this  Market Tour Tale and share some of the behind the scenes collaborations, relationships and stories that she discovers on the Market floor. This week it’s all about Gary McBean and Anthony Femia, and their rather unlikely but strong friendship.


It’s 10am on a Thursday and I’m meeting with Gary McBean of Gary’s Meats and Anthony Femia of Maker & Monger.  Gary’s 6ft 4 ½ inch frame is leaning over his wide glass-topped counter and he only has eyes for his customer.

Once I’ve managed to drag Gary and Anthony away from their shops to have coffee at Abla’s, the two men are chatting about upcoming collaborations (I hear kransky mentioned). They both quickly fire ideas back and forth, not wasting the chance to be out from behind their counters to have a creative catch up.

Anthony might be the quieter of the two, but once you get him talking about cheese, he really comes to life.  Since starting his cheese business at the Market less than a year ago, Anthony has found a mentor in Gary (a fourth generation butcher and Market trader for over 30 years).  “When I first arrived, I wanted to try out my Reuben sandwich and perfect it. I went to the two best palates in the Market for feedback  – Gary and Damian (Pike). I was also after some quality pastrami from Gary,” he says.

“That’s wagyu pastrami,” Gary qualifies, “We make it on site, but have to send it off site for curing, not enough room here.” Thinking out loud I say to them, “Meat and cheese. I’d think of them together in a burger – your businesses aren’t very similar?” “Wrong,” says Anthony. “Both involve some kind of aging and curing; we both use a controlled environment to get the right bacteria working to improve the taste.”


Taste is where they are sympatico.  “I like to evoke a memory with my food,” says Anthony. “It may remind you of that cheese you had on your trip to Paris or that toasted cheese sandwich from childhood.”  Gary nods in agreement. It’s clear they both love to experiment with flavour. As we are chatting, Kathy of Sweet Greek sees Gary and asks him not to forget their sausage making trial for her upcoming book next week. It seems there are Market collaborations aplenty behind the scenes.

Anthony is keen to work with the other traders too, I like his analogy: “We’re all on the same sea. Even though we might be on different ships, we all rise and fall with the tide”.  Even in their own success, each trader can make a difference and help the other.

It looks like there a lot of ideas, collaborations and tastes on their way. Personally I’d like to volunteer to taste test that winter kransky – Gary, Anthony?

To meet Gary and Anthony and maybe try their new kransky, why not book into a hidden gem market tour? For more tour info click here.

Written by Giovanna Walker

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