Food Photography | Dave the Butcher

Dave the Butcher | Neely Wang Photography

As some of you know, I often take pictures for a Marin County Cooking School that holds chef demonstrations and cooking classes to support its partner homeless shelter, Homeward Bound. Fresh Starts Culinary Academy works alongside Fresh Starts Chef Events at the Key Room to provide some of the most fun and unique cooking events to benefit the homeless, and this past event with Dave the Butcher from Marina Meats in San Francisco was no exception.

Dave the Butcher | Neely Wang Photography

The evening was a late Oktoberfest celebration revolving around the art of sausage making. Dave the Butcher (aka Dave Budworth) had previously taught classes at Fresh Starts and is a repeat favorite. This particular class was a combination of cooking demonstration and cooking class, in which students watched sausages being encased and cooked as well as prepared their own crepinette sausage patties to take home.

Caul Fat | Neely Wang Photography

Crepinette is the french name for a small, flattened sausage that is also sometimes referred to as a sausage parcel.

Crepinette Caul Fat | Neely Wang Photography

The crepinettes are wrapped in caul fat or lace fat — a thin membrane which surrounds the stomach of animals, like cows, sheep, and pigs.

Crepinette Making | Neely Wang Photography

This membrane is also known as the greater omentum, which, if memory serves me right, is where Dr. Oz told Oprah that your bad belly fat is stored after having her hold up a human omentum.

Crepinette | Neely Wang Photography

As one group of students prepared their lamb and pork crepinettes, the other group watched sausages being encased, which could then be purchased at the end of the evening with proceeds going to Homeward Bound.

Sausage Extruder | Neely Wang Photography

Marina Meats Sausage | Neely Wang Photography

The full menu included an appetizer of handmade soft pretzels with house made mustards,

Homemade Pretzel | Neely Wang Photography

Marina Meats lamb and pork specialty sausages,

Fresh Starts Culinary Academy | Fresh Starts Culinary Academy

braised red cabbage and german potato salad,

Fresh Starts Chef Events | Neely Wang Photography

and baked orchard apples for dessert.

Baked Apple | Neely Wang Photography

My favorite dishes were the red cabbage and the baked apples, but that’s because I haven’t been eating as much meat lately. Interestingly, these sausages were really lean, which was probably due to them being made of organic, grass-fed meat — very different than what I was used to from a typical supermarket and much more flavourful.

Fresh Starts Chef Events | Neely Wang Photography

I did learn a thing or two about sausages and how sausages do not need to be encased to be a sausage, just rather be a combination of ground meats and spices. I also learned that hot dogs are actually a liquid emulsion that is often encased in artificial casings such as collagen, cellulose or plastic. Yuck — this is why I no longer eat hot dogs!

Baeltane Brewing | Neely Wang Photography

Baeltane Brewing supplied the artisanal beer for the evening to make it a true Oktoberfest celebration. Head Brewer, Alan Altha was on hand to answer questions about beer pairings as well as their brewery’s beer offerings, like Venus in Blue Jeans or The Frog that Ate the World.

Meat Packing | Neely Wang Photography

We each got to take home our uncooked crepinettes to prepare at home. Truly a fun and delicious evening! Can’t wait for January’s class with Chef Jeff Cercielo from Farmshop. Check back for the post soon!


  1. Hi Neely, I have been following your blog for awhile and especially love your macro monday posts. As a beginner I have been learning more about photography & am especially intrigued by the lens choices for specific images. Can you share what lenses you used for the marin food photography shots?

    • Thank you, Maureen! For this particular event, I used a canon 24-70mm 2.8 because I needed to quickly zoom in and out, and it was pretty dark so I needed a lens with a lower f-stop (I don’t like shooting with flash). But I have shot other of these events with a canon 50mm 1.4 because of its low-light capabilities. For a beginner, I would recommend using a 50mm 1.8, which is very affordable and has great depth of field and low light capabilities. I prefer primes because of the speed and clarity. Hope that helps! Please feel free to let me know if you have any more questions or need clarification.

    • Haha – yes, the lace fat was quite interesting, but I guess when you think about how natural sausages are encased in intestines, it’s pretty similar in my book :). When I prepared the crepinettes at home, they rendered a lot of fat, but then provided a slightly crispy texture to the sausages, almost like coated in bacon — really tasty!

  2. Amazing, I can almost feel I am in the kitchen and see it all happening, the energy in the stills is so powerful, brilliant and thoroughly enjoyable :-)

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