Chris O’Blenness: Buffalo Meat Co’s New Owner
Chris O’Blenness is a Wyoming native son, recently returned form New York. When he was back east, he got a Stone Barn education, running their livestock program. He is a chef and a rancher and he is bringing those passions together with the newly acquired Buffalo Meat Co., which sells buffalo and elk meat. Hear about Chris’s exciting plans for the 70 year old business and the turns that brought him back home (home on the range).
Jackson Hole Buffalo Meat Co. has a new owner. Chris O’Blenness, who was born and raised in Hog Island, bought the business from Dan Marino a few weeks ago. O’Blenness most recently ran the livestock program for Stone Barns in New York.
Some may know this valley native as one of the owners of the old Southside Pizza, a farm to table pizza restaurant he started after working for Cosmic Apple Gardens. After shutting the restaurant’s doors, O’Blenness wanted a fresh start and moved to New York to attend culinary school in 2010. Someone at school told him he should lookup Dan Barber, Blue Hill and Stone Barns. “I knew immediately that is what I wanted to do,” O’Blenness said.
Since there were no positions open at the farm, he volunteered every chance he could, making the trek to Westchester and learning how to raise livestock. He even slept in a sleeping bag in the farm’s pig huts so he was there first thing in the morning for work. That dedication paid off, and O’Blenness was finally offered a part time job. By the time he left New York in August, he was running the livestock department for Stone Barns. (He wasn’t a total newcomer to livestock. O’Blenness grew up around cows, and one of his earliest memories was getting baby chicks from the feed store with his grandfather.)
At some point, though, he realized that he couldn’t stay in that position forever, so he began looking for opportunities back in Jackson. A friend told him about Buffalo Meat Co., and after months of back and forth the sale went through a few weeks ago.
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