Imagine caring so much about the quality of your ham that you’d pay an expert $4,000 to slice it. It makes your butcher pale in comparison, doesn’t it? Florencio Sanchidrián is an expert on all things Spanish ham and indeed charges $4,000 per leg just to cut it.
But no matter what way you slice it, Sanchidrián does know what he’s doing. As a “cortador de jamones," particularly jamón ibérico, he has to know everything about where and how the pig was raised and the flavor notes of each piece of meat, according to an interview with Munchies. For instance, Spanish ham has distinct aromas, flavors, and textures, giving the meat a totally different mouthfeel.
He also knows exactly how to cut the ham, moving the joints as little as possible.
Sanchidrián, who started his culinary career as a waiter before he discovered his love of ham, has sliced meat for the Pope, President Obama, Robert De Niro, and Robert Redford, just to name a few. With a price tag that steep, it’s no wonder he’s known as a celebrity ham-slicer.