Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa announces Walter Apfelbaum as executive butcher at Council Oak Steaks & Seafood. As executive butcher, he’s in charge of butchering for the other dining options at the property.
Renowned butcher Walter Apfelbaum has been in the meat industry for 30 years. Born and raised in Asbury Park, New Jersey, he learned about the business at his father’s best friend’s butcher shop. He was introduced and hired seasonally by some of the most noteworthy butchers in the tri-state area for his talent and meat-cutting abilities. After he graduated from high school, Apfelbaum enrolled in the culinary arts program at a vocational school and became a butcher’s apprentice at Ocean Place Hilton Resort & Spa in New Jersey.
His passion for culinary arts led him to The Culinary Institute of America. Whole Foods recruited him to participate in their butcher training program, where his mentor was the lead butcher for Whole Food tri-state locations. He traveled abroad for several years through several European regions, including Denmark and Southern Italy, mastering his butcher skills and learning the seafood trade. When he returned to the US, he worked at various butcher shops and steakhouses located in the area like Peter Luger’s, Delmonico’s, Gallagher’s, and Keens. These opportunities allowed him to continue perfecting his skills with dry aging high end meats from USDA Prime to Japanese Wagyu to Kosher.
He relocated to Tampa in 2009 and joined Council Oak’s butcher team. In 2012, he was offered the chance by the Seminole Tribe of Florida to open NYY Steak at the Seminole Casino Coconut Creek. He was also asked to join the team to open a new NYY Steak in Midtown Manhattan.
He ended up in Detroit in 2017 to launch award-winning steakhouse Prime + Proper. He rejoins the Council Oak team for all the eateries inside Seminole Hard Rock Tampa, where his daily responsibilities include managing the Butcher Shop at Council Oak Steaks & Seafood. All cuts of meat are ordered and held to the highest quality, educating the entire staff, and giving guests the ultimate experience.