S2 Ep7: A Lady Butcher – Hannah Miller

BY Rebecca Greaves.

Hannah Miller is A Lady Butcher and her passion is to create purposeful meats.

Hannah’s jam is making traditional charcuterie, the art of preserving meat, with local New Zealand ingredients. She’s gaining a fan following for her range of premium dried and cured meats from local, ethically-raised animals.

A Lady Butcher Hannah Miller

She and her husband also have a restaurant and brewery, Churly’s, in Auckland. At Churly’s they do whole carcase butchery, and Hannah is committed to ensuring every cut has a place, adopting a nose to tail philosophy. The butchery itself is tucked inside the restaurant.

“The name A Lady Butcher came because it was a nickname I was given and was my Instagram handle for a while…it sort of stuck. I happen to be a female butcher, that’s it. We do have a feminine slant to what we do.”

Hannah is American born and has lived and worked all over the world in her career in hospitality and as a chef. She began her butcher’s apprenticeship in 2007 as a way to become a better chef, and discovered a love for the craft.

“To me, I find butchery to be very zen, unlike cooking, when you’re a chef in a restaurant it’s hot, busy, stressful, you’re always on a time limit…With butchery you’re working in advance, prepping in advance, it’s very systematic and you’re working through processes. It’s cold and you’re often by yourself, I find that relaxing.”

Hannah is purposely thoughtful in her approach to butchery and respecting the animal. “I like to take a minute to think about the fact this was a life, this was an animal, and we’ve taken that life for our nourishment, and being grateful for that. When I’m butchering that helps me be mindful nothing is going to waste.”

Everything has a purpose and they challenge themselves to ensure every cut is as good as it can be. This includes getting the bones clean and making sure everything has a home. “The compost bin at the end of the day has very little in it.”

Hannah moved to New Zealand specifically for butchery nine years ago, as there was a skills shortage (there still is). She only planned to be here for six months, but still hasn’t left. Now she has several businesses, a Kiwi husband and New Zealand citizenship, so she’s in it for the long haul.

“Kids love our stuff, who doesn’t love a bit of dried, salty meat? But also, restaurants, it’s changed a lot since Covid, but we’re probably 50% restaurants and 50% retail,” Hannah says.

She started A Lady Butcher after becoming frustrated at the lack of cured meats in New Zealand, let alone good quality products. She began making it for herself and quickly had more than she and her friends could eat, and so that became the business.

A Lady Butcher Hannah Miller

Suppliers include Wagyu beef from First Light Foods, Southland lamb from Leelands Lamb, and free-range pork from Farm Gate Produce.

“It’s about working with farmers, and being mindful that you can’t put the legs back on a lamb and put it back in the paddock. Everything has to be used and it’s our responsibility as consumers, as chefs, as farmers to work together in order to not have waste.

“Eating meat with purpose, I’d definitely say I’m a purposeful meat eater. I love it, it’s absolutely part of my diet, a lot. But not just eating something for the sake of it. If you’re going to have a burger, have a really good burger. If you’re going to have a steak, have a really good steak. Appreciate where it came from, appreciate the process and all the work that’s gone in to get it there.”

Hannah’s goal is to educate, to get Kiwis to be comfortable with charcuterie (including pronouncing it), and see it as something to be enjoyed often. 

A Lady Butcher goods can be found at Farro Fresh in Auckland, New World around the country and delicatessens and specialty stores.


Head over to the From the Ground Up podcast to hear more from Hannah Miller, A Lady Butcher, on the art of curing meat, how she chooses her suppliers and some great advice if you’re thinking about doing a capital raise.

A Lady Butcher show notes

Website: www.aladybutcher.co.nz

Facebook: A Lady Butcher Facebook

Instagram: @aladybutcher A Lady Butcher (@aladybutcher) | Instagram