AUSTRALIA has assembled a crack team of knife-men and women to compete in the 2022 World Butchers’ Challenge, being staged in Sacramento, California in September.
This year’s World Butchers’ Challenge will pitch teams of six from 16 countries around the world in a two-day test of knife skills, value-adding, presentation and craftsmanship.
After the 2020 competition was cancelled, the expectation over this year’s event is at fever pitch across the retail meat sales trade.
The ‘Aussie Steelers’ senior team has been selected, along with two apprentices and two young butchers below 30 years of age for separate WBC divisions – the World Champion Young Butcher and Apprentice Competitions – making up the 14-member Australian representative contingent.
The event was last held in Ireland in 2018. Host nation Ireland won the 2018 event, with New Zealand and Australia second and third, while a team from France claimed the 2016 title, held on Queensland’s Gold Coast.
Canada, Mexico and Iceland are three teams making their debut at the 2022 World Butchers’ Challenge, joining 13 other competing nations.
Now a true global event, the World Butchers’ Challenge had its origins in 2011 as a friendly Trans-Tasman butchery competition between Australia and New Zealand. The event has continued to grow with more teams added every two years since.
This year’s Aussie Steelers senior team and reserves includes:
- Luke Leyson, Goodwood Meats, SA
- Tom Bouchier, Peter Bouchier Butchers of Distinction, Vic
- Craig Munro, Munro’s Meats, NSW
- Joel Young, 3J’s Butchers, Vic
- Brett Laws, Pryde Meats, NSW
- Gary Thompson, The Squealing Pig, QLD
- Tim Woller, Barwon Valley Smallgoods, Vic
- Shannon Walker, All Things Meat, NSW
- Paul Suleyman, Goodwood Meats, SA
- Darren O’Rourke, Vic’s Meats, NSW
Victorian Matthew Tyquin from Ashburton Meats, and Gabriel Mahoney from Meat at Billy’s, QLD will compete in the apprentice division, while Suzy Roeger from Meat at Billy’s, Brisbane QLD and Gareth Hunt, Fat Cow Gourmet Meats, QLD, will compete in the Young Butchers’ competition.
The competition is designed to test each nation’s butchery, retail and presentation skills. Teams are given a side of beef and pork, a whole lamb and five chickens, which they must transform into a themed display of value-added retail products all within three hours and 15 minutes. The meat products are judged based on their levels of creativity, innovation and craftsmanship.
Organiser for the Australian team, Shannon Walker, said the team represented an incredible cross-section of the Australian butchery industry, from those who have competed before and are ‘old-hands’, to younger members and those who are true specialists in value-adding.
The Young Butchers and Apprentices will have their own moment in the spotlight to celebrate and encourage new butchers to the industry. The young and apprentice butchers compete individually using a range of primal cuts to create a retail-ready range of their own creation.
World Butcher’s Challenge chief executive Ashley Gray said the event these days embraced so much more than just the competition itself, with a global community building life-long mentorships and friendships, unlocking business opportunities and with the overall trade benefiting from an injection of creativity and innovation.
- The 2022 World Butcher’s Challenge will be held 2-3 September, in a 15,000 seat stadium in Sacramento, California.
- Sponsorship and fundraising is underway to get the team to Sacramento. Click here to contact organiser Shannon Walker if you are interested in finding out more.