For Cindy Garcia ’14, the first class she signed up for as a freshman helped determine her career path. Part of the animal management practices series, the “Meats” class offers students the chance for hands-on work in the UC Davis Meat Lab. “My first class was a lamb slaughter. As soon as it started happening, I was, like, ‘What am I doing here?’” said Garcia. “But then, once it was done, it started clicking. This has to happen for me to eat.” Now, Garcia is a skilled butcher, recently named the first woman on team USA for the World Butchers’ Challenge to be held in 2020. Often called the “Olympics of Meat,” competitors are judged in areas of general workmanship, meat cutting, displaying and creativity. Garcia will participate in the Young Butcher Competition. She took home the gold medal at this year’s Lifeline International Young Butcher competition in Australia.
She will appear on the History Channel’s new show “The Butcher” on June 19. The show features four butchers competing in different challenges. A native of Los Angeles, Garcia worked in an animal clinic as a high schooler with vet school in mind. Instead, after graduating UC Davis, she helped open V. Miller Meats in Sacramento. She now works at the Davis Food Co-Op and is an assistant and mentor in the Meat Lab. “I really enjoy teaching — that has a lot to do with why I’m still here,” she said. “This whole career has been taking me places I never expected.”