Love List: Allison Hines

After cooking up a storm in the Navy, Allison Hines headed straight to the Midwest Culinary Institute on her GI Bill.

Feb 5, 2014 at 10:14 am
click to enlarge Allison Hines
Allison Hines

Name: Allison Hines

Age: “A lady never tells” 

Title: Owner of Butcher Betties 

Hometown: Kalamazoo, Michigan

Why we love her: She celebrates women’s work in the male-dominated butchery industry by bringing the strength and femininity of the pinup girl to life in a female-forward butcher shop.

After cooking up a storm in the Navy, Allison Hines headed straight to the Midwest Culinary Institute on her GI Bill. 

But her first encounter with butchery came as a complete surprise, Hines says. While preparing for a culinary school demonstration, she felt the urge to incorporate local food into her cooking and put a call out to local farmers for chicken. “One of the farmers called and said ‘Hey Allie, I have the chickens, but they’re live,’” she says. Hines suddenly had the responsibility of killing, butchering and preparing live chickens in time for her demo.

Luckily, her father-in-law stepped in to show her the ropes on the first chicken, and then Hines took care of the rest. 

“It’s a very spiritual experience when you take an animal’s life for food,” she says. “You learn to respect it more, and you treat it differently.”

It wasn’t until she lost her job as a corporate chef last February that she began to entertain the idea of furthering her butchery education and opening Butcher Betties (, a shop where old-school butchery, farm-to-table ideology and pinup girls meet.

Hines comes from four generations of Navy women dating back to the WAVES of World War II — a long line of Rosie the Riveters, she says. For her, the quintessential pinup girl is about so much more than a pretty face.

“Pinups also represented the beauty and strength that awaited men back home — if that isn’t beautiful and powerful, I don’t know what is,” she says.

After only eight months of what she planned to be an 18-month butchery apprenticeship with Avril-Bleh, Hines and her husband had the chance to own their own a shop at The Friendly Market in Florence, Ky. Since taking ownership a few weeks ago, she and her husband and her colleagues from AvrilBleh have been working around the clock to set up shop. Hines wants to create a space where the women within the male-dominated butchery industry are praised and empowered, and she hopes to keep her shop true to its pinup roots by staffing it with as many women as possible.

Finish this statement with five of your favorite things: “I love …”

Bacon — I can’t lie, it’s the first thing that came to mind. I love my family. I love feeling beautiful: High heels, red lips and a pencil skirt make me happy. I love my son’s laughter. Nothing makes me smile more than hearing him giggle. And I love a sharp knife. 

Name someone that you love — a role model, best friend, inspiration, etc. And tell us why.

My husband Patrick. He defines passion. I built some kind of karma somewhere to deserve him. This man makes me feel real love. Not easy love — no easy love is worth having. The real kind of love that makes you believe you’re beautiful instead of just hearing it. He absolutely brings out the best in me. 

What is the best lesson life has taught you about love?  

Never settle. Know yourself, know what you want, what you don’t want and don’t accept anything else. I waited a long time to meet my husband, but it was only when I knew I was the best me I could be that I was ready for him.

What is a phrase or motto you live your life by?

Never say, “Woulda, coulda, shoulda.” This comes from my mother, a wise woman.