IN a contest designed to unearth the world’s top butchers, Team Ireland, representing Northern Ireland and Ireland, was crowned last night as champions in the 2018 World Butchers’ Challenge staged in Belfast.
The Australian team, nicknamed the Steelers, finished a gallant third, not far behind runners-up, the Pure South Sharp Blacks from New Zealand.
Following an outstanding display of butchery skills and retail presentation creativity, the home nation, Team Ireland, was announced at a gala event in Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast last night.
A record 12 international teams took part in this year’s biennial event including Australia, Brazil, France, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa Bulgaria, the USA, and host-team, Ireland.
The 2018 Australian Steelers team included Adam Stratton, Tender Gourmet Butchery, NSW; Paul Brady, Tender Gourmet Butchery, NSW; Tom Bouchier, Peter Bouchier Butchers of Distinction, Vic; Colin Garrett, Colin’s Butchery, NSW; Nick Dagg, Gourmet Market Meats, QLD; Luke Leyson, Goodwood Quality Meats, SA Reserve: Gareth Hunt, Fat Cow Butchery, QLD.
Australia’s entrants in the apprentices competition, all from NSW were Joe Maberley from Vic’s Meats, Mitch Byrnes and Jack Stuart. Our Young Butcher division entrants were Jim Neville and Caleb Sanqvist.
Head Judge Todd Heller from New Zealand said the results from the top five ranked teams were extremely close, and the standard overall was exceptional.
“We are thrilled to have grown the World Butchers’ Challenge to a dozen teams this year from four in 2016, which makes the event a truly global challenge. We’re now focused on building an even greater World Butchers’ Challenge in 2020,” he said.
Prior to the main event, the World Champion Young Butcher and Apprentice competition was also held with Thomas Guyomar from France judged World Champion Young Butcher and Samantha Weller from New Zealand as the World Champion Butcher’s Apprentice.
Adam Stratton from Australia was named as one of six butchers in the event’s World Team. Others included Eamon Etherson from Ireland, Angel Naidener from Bulgaria, Corey Winder from New Zealand, Francesca Camassa from Italy and Phillipe Lalanda from France.
Each team of six had just three hours and fifteen minutes to turn a side of beef, a side of pork, a whole lamb and five chickens into a themed display of value-added retail cuts, similar of what you would expect in a traditional butcher shop or supermarket but with plenty of innovation and skill at the heart of the displays.
Winning team captain Garrett Landers said the win would add to Ireland and Northern Ireland’s reputation for the quality of its meat and craftsmanship, delivering additional promotion for the entire Island of Ireland on the global stage.
“We have been training for this event for almost 18 months, and to win on our first attempt is just incredible. The standard from the other countries was first-class, and we’re beyond delighted to have won the award.”
“We’re hoping that this accolade will help to spread the word of the world-class quality of Irish and Northern Irish produce across the globe,” said Garrett Landers, Ireland team captain.
The World Butchers’ Challenge aims to showcase skill and innovation in the butchery trade and as such a number of other accolades were awarded last night:
- The Aussie Steelers claimed best gourmet and pork sausage crowns, and earned the event’s Best Hygiene/Health & Safety Award.
- Best Beef Product went to Great Britain, while France won the Best Lamb Product crown.
- Best burger went to the team from Greece.
The World Butchers’ Challenge took place during Meat@IFEX, Northern Ireland’s premier event for the food, drink, retail and hospitality industries.