Aaron Rocchino – Owner
Aaron’s culinary career began at age twelve when he realized that if he wanted a car when he turned sixteen, he had to start making some money. So, he got a job as a dishwasher at his grandparents’ favorite eating establishment. He moved his way up to a busser position and then into the kitchen as a prep cook. At the age of 16, he was a trained line cook. When Aaron entered vocational high school, he had to decide between focusing on his two favorite topics, auto mechanics or culinary arts. After hemming and hawing at great length, he opted to study culinary arts. His senior year, he won a national cooking competition in Florida. The prize was a full scholarship to attend The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. While attending the Culinary Institute of America, Aaron had the opportunity to intern at Oliveto, an Italian restaurant located in Oakland, California. After completing his 6 month internship, he was offered a full-time job at the restaurant once he graduated from the CIA. After graduating in 2002, Aaron worked in New York City at Le Bernadin under the tutelage of Eric Ripert. Aaron then moved on to Tangerine and Buddakan (both Steven Starr restaurants) in Philadelphia where he learned how to cook at two very fast paced, large volume restaurants. All the while, he was trying to save up money to move out to California and to return to Oliveto. Finally, in 2003, he made the move to Oliveto in Oakland where he worked for four years, first as a line cook and ultimately as a sous chef. It was under the leadership of Paul Bertolli and Paul Canales that Aaron developed his true cooking style and learned how to butcher whole animals and craft salumi, pate and pasta by hand. He began to understand what is meant to cook “nose to tail” as well as how a restaurant could fit into a larger community of farmers and producers. The relationships with with farmers that he worked with while at Oliveto remain to this day. (He also met his wife at Oliveto!) Aaron was then hired by Chez Panisse as one of four cooks in the famous restaurant in 2007. At Chez Panisse, Aaron continued to butcher whole animals and build relationships with farmers and producers. Aaron was chosen by Chez Panisse to represent the restaurant at Slow Food’s Terra Madre event in Torino, Italy, as well as at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Sustainable Fish event.
Monica Rocchino – Owner
Monica grew up in San Rafael, CA, and then attended Brown University in Providence, RI, where she mastered the art of cooking in a toaster oven and a microwave. During her junior year in college, she attended the University of Bologna in Italy. It was here that she learned that a tomato isn’t orange but a deep crimson, and that truly fresh food tastes amazing without much tampering. Upon returning to the States, she knew that she wanted food to play a central role in her career. She also had an entrepreneurial spirit and focused her studies in economics, business and management. Upon graduating, Monica went to work at Paula LeDuc Fine Catering in Emeryville, CA, where she was hired as an Event Production Manager. Here she became more comfortable with culinary terms, pairing wines with food, and the art and importance of customer service. After two years with Paula LeDuc Fine Catering, Monica decided it was time to tap into her business training and start her own company. Monica started Stelle Events where she planned and coordinated events for Americans both in Northern California and in Italy. The company grew to produce twelve high-end events a year. While the company was in its beginning stages, Monica worked at Oliveto Restaurant and Café in Oakland, CA, where she learned much more about Italian food, sustainability and wine pairing. She also met her future husband and co-owner of The Local Butcher Shop, Aaron. After five years of running Stelle Events, it was time to hone her sales skills, so back to Paula LeDuc Fine Catering she went as an Account Executive. She was an Account Executive for two and a half years before opening The Local Butcher Shop.
Ricky – Butchery Department Manager
Ricky comes from a family of good cooks. Growing up in Highland, Indiana, his family would gather to cook and eat for the holidays and all of the Chicago Bears games. This inspired Ricky’s interest in culinary arts and butchery. Before joining The Local Butcher Shop team, he worked at Applestone Meat Company in Accord, New York. Ricky plays the bass guitar and loves seeing/listening to live music. He also enjoys gardening and experiments with all forms of fermentation.
Mike – Butcher
Mike helped run his family’s butcher shop in Cumberland, Rhode Island as a kid. He looked up to the skilled butchers and wanted to learn the trade as he grew older. When he not working, Mike mountain bikes and practices ju jitsu.
Caleb – Butcher
Caleb first became interested in food during a cooking class in high school. Five years into his cooking career he was introduced to butchery. Originally from San Bernardino, California, he joined the TLBS team in the summer of 2017. In his free time, Caleb enjoys disc golf, snowboarding, biking and cooking, of course.
Justin – Butcher
Justin joined The Local Butcher Shop team in August 2017. Originally from Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania, his interest in food started at a young age. Hunting and fishing piqued his interest in butchery. Prior to butchery work, Justin worked in healthcare. He spends his spare time playing rugby.
Derek – Butcher
Scott – Sando Maker
Koji – Butcher
Brian – Butcher
Brian joined the butchery team in December 2018. Originally from Rhode Island, it was the lack of great food in his home state that brought him to California. Brian has cooked in restaurants in San Francisco, Napa, Palo Alto and Rhode Island. When not cooking or butchering, he enjoys hike, fishing and the art of drinking beer.
Jason – Value Added Products Manager
Prior to joining the TLBS Team in 2018, Jason was the executive chef of Revival, a whole animal restaurant in downtown Berkeley. The work at Revival sparked his interested in the world of charcuterie. In his younger days, Jason was always cooking with family. He attended culinary school in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.
Benito – Dishwasher
Benito has a great interest in food and meat. Before coming the United States, he raised corn, beans and cows in Mexico. Prior to joining The Local Butcher Shop team in 2015, he was an ice cream vendor and cement worker. He loves learning about food. If he had the time, he would visit his mom in Mexico.
Kathryn – Marketing Maven
Kathryn joined The Local Butcher Shop team in 2014. In addition to her marketing work, she makes olive oil each autumn with California olive growers. She is also the founder of Eat Retreat, an annual creative retreat and national community of food leaders. She has a master’s degree from the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy, and is an advocate for regional food systems that include sustainable meat production.