'Meat Men' exec happy to share spotlight

by Joel Crews
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NORTH BERGEN, NJ – Just days after the Food Network debut of a reality show that gives viewers a glimpse into the daily operations of a New Jersey-based, meat purveying company, one of the stars of the show is keeping the newfound fame in perspective. Pat LaFrieda Jr., CEO of Pat LaFrieda & Son, a third-generation, wholesale meat purveyor, told meatpoultry.com that having the Food Network’s cameras trained on his company’s behind-the-scene, meat-cutting drama was a natural progression and not at all an awkward or uncomfortable scenario.

“I have appeared on several Food Network shows over the past 10 years,” he said, “therefore, Food Network felt it was a great idea for a TV show.”

Upon hearing the news that his family’s company would be the focus of the series, Pat wasn’t at all surprised, and he was anxious to have the spotlight shine on it.

“This is a positive story about the meat industry and it’s rare that positive stories are shown about our industry,” he said.

Running the medium-size supplier of multi-species of meat to hotels, restaurants and institutions, Pat shares the silver screen with his father, Pat Sr., who serves as the vice president, and cousin, Mark Pastore, the president who is also billed as the “smooth-talking” principal of the operation. Filming was completed months ago and the footage will play out each Monday night at 10 pm CDT on the Food Network. Just like his employees are required to comply with US Dept. of Agriculture regulations, LaFreida said the Food Network crew was required to don sanitized white smocks, hair nets and gloves.

“The show follows a third-generation business trying to succeed through a rough economy in the trichotomy between my cousin, my father and myself working the family business,” said the younger LaFrieda.

Unlike many tabloid-hogging cast members in today’s growing reality-show community, LaFrieda said his family agreed to do the show with the goal of telling a positive story about an industry that is garnering a growing level of interest among the general public.

“I am confident in what we do and know it would be perceived in a positive light,” he said, and after the debut broadcast, the feedback has been nothing but positive.

“I feel that the US has the safest meat supply in the world. If I can get that point across, I’d be happy,” he concludes.

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