Wednesday, December 7

«In the US there is more respect for the ham cutter than in Spain»




Carlos Sanchez (Barcelona, ​​1981) is the same man before Barack Obama as before the clients of the butcher shop that he ran together with his brother in Burgos, when he was not yet the hollywood stars ham slicer. He is, he says proudly, the butcher who has taken Iberian ham and its cut to the highest sphere in the United States, where he spends practically his days from event to event.

Carlos Sanchez
Carlos Sanchez- I. Permuy

There he works, side by side, with another great ambassador of Spain, the chef Jose Andres, who knew how to see in him the talent to dazzle the American public in his restaurants. “The show is important,” he says unapologetically, with a ‘hipster’ aesthetic that he wears with a suit, black vinyl glove and perfect tie knot.

All this is compatible with knowing where he comes from and never forgetting that he is the son of Juli Gonzalo, his mother. “I called her excited minutes after Obama shook my hand and said, ‘Okay, but when are you coming back, son?'” she says with a smile.

From a butcher shop in Burgos, to the Oscars

He fights every day for his job to be as important as that of any other actor in the hedonistic gastronomy scene. “Our profession is not recognized. There is no job title. In the US there is more respect for the ham cutter than in Spain », he laments. Since he left the Burgos butcher shop -There he trained until exhaustion to achieve perfection in the cut- his life has been a carousel of emotions.

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“The ham makes people happy”, he boasts as co-artificer of that atmosphere along with a product that he reads and interprets at the stroke of a knife. “I like the female legswith an infiltration and a good coat of fat”, he explains about his preferences.

Plate of Iberian ham 'minitapas', the cut developed by Carlos Sánchez
Plate of Iberian ham ‘minitapas’, the cut developed by Carlos Sánchez – I. Permuy

However, live the luck of the matador. “When you arrive at an event you don’t know what you’re going to cut or how it’s going to look. You have to know how to work with what you have, like a bullfighter when he jumps into the ring », he exemplifies. Theirs has a lot to do with art and culture. In his work visa it states: ‘artist’, reads the document. «Every time I pass a control I have to spend half an hour explaining what I do. One day, tired of doing it and in a hurry, taking advantage of the fact that my visa says ‘artist‘ I said it was porn actor and they let me pass without a problem”, he recalls among a thousand anecdotes, as many as he has traveled around the world. “Traveling with knives doesn’t help either. My suitcase is almost always searched », she says.

An own cut: the ‘minitapas’ of ham

Because the ham mini-tapas -his personal hallmark in terms of the shape of the cut, small and in one bite- have passed through the palates of kings -the Queen of England, the Kings of Spain or Don Juan Carlos-, of presidents of the Government , and celebrities of all kinds and conditions: soccer players -he will cut ham in the Champions League final, in Paris-; actors and directors – De Niro, Kevin Bacon, steven spielberg, etc.-; or musicians.

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It was just after working for Raymond Amador when the doors of entertainment were opened to him, first here with word of mouth and after the 2019 Oscars gala, in which he served thousands of his minicaps, in the USA “I never imagined that I would have Spielberg recording shots with his phone while cutting ham,” he highlights. The Iberian equals humans: well cut almost always produces a guttural smile.

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