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Trader Profile: Paul, Neil's Meats

Monday 9th May 2022

Specialising in top-quality meats perfect for any occasion, we sat down with owner of Neil’s Meats, Paul McNair to find out more about his Bracher Arcade store and what he loves most about being a butcher at the Market.

Where did you work before joining the family business?

I worked in different markets /street shops around Melbourne and Queensland.

What do you enjoy most about owning Neil’s Meats?

I enjoy the social side of the business, meeting and talking to people and creating a network of clientele. It’s a great feeling when people come back week after week and tell you how good that steak or roast, or whatever they bought was.

I enjoy the challenges of owning Neil’s Meats; the constant search for a better way to do things, a better way to satisfy customers and the constant search for better meat.

I feel privileged to have a successful business in such a great food market, one of the best in Melbourne and Australia.

What is the most common question you get asked?

What our best steak is.

What is something people may not know about you or Neil’s Meats?

I think a lot of people wouldn’t know the history behind Neil’s Meats; the fact that Neil started the business 55 years ago and that it’s still going strong from Neil’s humble beginnings.

How does your day start?

My day starts at 4 am preparing around 80 to 100 different products and cuts. It’s a full-on day where I often won’t get more than a 15-minute break until 5 pm. We have a small window of 3 to 4 hours in the morning to get most of the work done before the customers come in, and then it is all about serving and preparing orders.

What is your favourite part of the job?

I would have to say the best part of the job is serving a customer and knowing they are happy with your service and the quality of the meat. It’s great hearing positive comments on how fantastic their BBQ or dinner party went.

What is your top tip for customers?

It doesn’t cost much more to buy real quality.

What is your favourite meat to eat?

I love steak and the flavour of a lamb roast.

What is your favourite dish and why?

A lovely succulent roast leg or shoulder of lamb with veggies is very simple (and for some people a bit standard) but if the produce is great, it’s very hard to beat.

Tell us about your earliest food memory.

Neil and his mother Jess were fantastic cooks, so I always remember beautiful casseroles and roasts from Neils’. Jess would always make beautiful sweets and pastries.

What do you love most about being at Prahran Market?

I love the people who shop at the market and especially our shop. It means so much these days for people to support their local business and I am so appreciative of that. The people who shop at the Prahran Market are so friendly and loyal, I couldn’t wish for a better place to have a business. I love the quality of food at the Market, you will never see the variety, quality and presentation anywhere else in Australia, or maybe the world! I often witness people who have come from interstate or from overseas be amazed at the quality and the presentation.

What do you love to do on your day off?

My days off normally consist of catching up with bookwork and spending time with the family.

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