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’ s 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.
Langdon – Head of Butchery
Langdon is originally from Palo Alto, CA. He graduated from culinary school in 2009 and has been working as a butcher for three years. He now lives on his boat in the Berkeley Marina and enjoys hiking and camping, taking photos, and cooking good food.
Sam – Head of Value Added Products
Sam was born and raised in San Francisco’s Richmond district. He graduated form the California School of Culinary Arts in Pasadena and has cooked at notable Bay Area restaurants including Google headquarters, Greens, Camino and Hog’s Apothecary. Sam now lives in Pleasant Hill with his fiancé, two cats and a little vegetable garden, which he loves tending. His last meal on earth would be two dungeness crabs boiled in salt water with a pot of steamed rice and a dish of meyer lemon juice and black pepper, followed by an ice cold mango for dessert.
Sean – Butcher
While completing his B.A. in Math and considering further studies in Engineering, Sean fell in love with local produce and cooking. His interest in butchery began as a customer at The Local Butcher Shop. He join The Local Butcher Shop team’s Sando department in 2015, and has since move over to butchery. When he’s not at the shop, he cooks at home practicing techniques, canning, pickling and gardening. Sean is originally from Dallas, Texas.
Cristal – Butcher
Cristal is originally from Fresno and moved to Southern California at the age of fifteen. Since childhood, local farms and good food have been a staple. Cristal remembers the Central Valley’s summer plum trees and long drives to the country for fresh dairy milk. After moving south, Cristal began washing dishes at a culinary school and soon developed a palate for good food. She moved her way up to managing the adjacent cheese and wine shop, and learned to pair small vineyard wines with farmstead cheeses. At the age of 21, she attained an intermediate sommelier certificate. After being called to the Bay Area, Cristal worked for a number of small businesses, learning cooking techniques along the way. With experience working in a production kitchen focusing on nutrient dense food, Cristal understands the value of broth as well as healing the gut. Cristal is now using those same methods at The Local Butcher Shop.
Mike – Butcher
Mike helped run his family butcher shop in Cumberland, Rhode Island. He also 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.
Jason – Butcher
Jason was born and raised on Oahu, Hawaii. All of his fondest memories involve gathering around a table of good food. Jason says his work as butchers allows him to help others create memories around their own table. In Hawaii, Jason worked as a cook and ran a sustainable seafood business. He reolcated to California and joined our team in July 2016. He enjoys fishing, diving and hunting in his free time.
Kelly – Butcher
Kelly join The Local Butcher Shop team in 2015. She was inspired to become a butcher because she’d like to raise her own animals someday. Prior to butchery, Kelly was a line cook in New Orleans. When not butchering, Kelly says she likes to sew capes and freak dance.
Leon – Butcher
Kyle – Value Added Products
Kyle hails from Port Angeles, Washington. He learned to cook when he was eight years old, and as he put is, “it just kinda stuck.” Prior to joining the team at The Local Butcher Shop, Kyle was the kitchen manager at New Easy Lounge. When he’s not making delicious meaty things he enjoys reading, painting and videography.
Edward – Sando Maker
Scott – Garde Manager
Scott’s interest in food is inspired by pancakes, horror films like Food, Inc., food justice issues, problems with food access, his uncle’s cooking, and short experiences with fad diets. Prior to joining The Local Butcher Shop team, he worked as a produce clerk and kitchen manager at the Isla Vista Food Co-op. Scott enjoys foraging local fruit and exploring the staircase paths of the Berkeley hills with his two dogs, Ducky and Woolbeard.
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.
Alejandro – Dishwasher
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.