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Cook Street School of Culinary Arts launches a state-certified butchery program spearheaded by Mark "Meathead" DeNittis

Mark "sausage czar" DeNittis

, owner of

Il Mondo Vecchio

, founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute of Meat, and one of the

newest members of FIVE

, has just signed on with

Cook Street School of Culinary Arts

to launch a state-accredited butchery certification program -- the only one in Colorado. The hands-on, knife-wielding series, open to Cook Street graduates and industry professionals with culinary training and a minimum of one year in the kitchen, runs from April 4 through June 13 and includes 36 hours of intensive nose-to-tail instruction, according to DeNittis.

"It's my curriculum, my program, and while there are plenty of seminars and butchery courses throughout the country, there's nothing that I know of that covers everything we plan to cover, and no program that exists on a state-certification level," says DeNittis, adding that the classes include sixteen hours of lectures and demonstrations and twenty hours of lab/applied skills, all of which will be conducted in the Cook Street kitchen.

"It's going to be intense, and we're definitely going to focus on nose-to-tail breakdown -- whole-carcass butchery demonstrations and utilization of everything from veal and poultry to beef, lamb and pork, and our plan is to try and source as locally as possible," notes DeNittis.

"Cook Street places great emphasis on using the freshest ingredients and proteins possible, and we wholeheartedly believe in the nose-to-tail movement," says Theresa Freeman, COO of Cook Street. "It was a natural extension to create a butchery class with Mark, who's a local industry leader and expert."

The program, which also covers sausage-making and dry-aging techniques, is a hefty investment at $2,000, but DeNittis maintains that it's worth every cent. "It's the first program of its kind in the country, but more important, it provides everyone taking the class with a solid foundation that transcends the professional kitchen, and, on a personal level, it's something that you can take home with you," he explains. "Instead of going to the grocery store," says DeNittis, "you're equipped with a mastery of skills -- the kind of skills that allow you to provide sustainability for your whole family."

For more information about the program or to sign up, go to www.cookstreet.com, or call 303-308-9300.

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