Pure South Sharp Blacks depart NZ for #WorldButchersChallenge

The 2016 Pure South Sharp Blacks are (left to right) Hannah Miller, John Cox, Greg Egerton, Nolton Laing, Corey Winder and Rowan Lee.

The Pure South Sharp Blacks, New Zealand’s national retail butchery team, have begun the countdown to the World Butchers’ Challenge as they leave for Australia this weekend.

The team will defend their three-time title against the best butchers from Australia, the UK plus, for the first time, France, in this year’s challenge, to be held at the Gold Coast Convention Centre on September 10. To acknowledge the new challenger, the competition has been renamed from its previous title, the Tri-Nation’s Butchers’ Challenge.

Team captain Corey Winder in action.
Team captain Corey Winder in action.

Corey Winder from Elite Meats Bush Inn in Christchurch has captained the team since the competition’s inception in 2011 and has high hopes for the days ahead.

“We have selected butchers with a great mix of experience, determination and personality and I believe, if we perform our best on the day, we have what it takes to win the championship title,” says Winder.

The Pure South Sharp Blacks team is made up of the nation’s top six butchers and is managed by Hellers founder, Todd Heller, who will also travel across the Tasman.

The four teams have three hours to turn a side of beef, pork and a whole lamb into value-added cuts to produce a world-class retail butchery display based around a theme of their choice.

For the first time, a chef has been introduced to the judging panel to mark the teams on the cookability of their products and well-known chef, Sean Connolly will be fulfilling the role this year.

The 2016 Pure South Sharp Blacks, sponsored by Pure South, Beef + Lamb New Zealand and NZ Pork, are:

  • John Cox from New World Hillcrest
  • Greg Egerton from Mosgiel
  • Nolton Laing from Harris Meats Cheviot
  • Rowan Lee from New World Hokitika
  • Hannah Miller from Neat Meat Ponsonby
  • Corey Winder from Elite Meats Bush Inn, Christchurch

Also travelling to Australia are four of the country’s leading young butchers to compete in two individual category competitions; The World Butchers’ Challenge – Apprentice and Young Achiever.

Nolton Laing dealing with a beef carcase.
Nolton Laing sets to work.

The following four have been selected after gaining top results at a national competition last year.

World Butchers’ Challenge – Apprentice category

  • Ben Henry from New World Centre City, Dunedin
  • Hohepa Smith from Countdown Ponsonby, Auckland

World Butchers’ Challenge – Young Achievers category

  • Alana Empson from PAK’nSAVE Clarence St, Hamilton
  • Luka Young from PAK’nSAVE Lincoln Road, Auckland

The delegation will be hosted by the Australian team on a week-long study tour ahead of the competition, visiting some of the best butchers shops in Australia.

The international retail butchery competition has been growing from strength to strength since its inaugural Trans-Tasman Test Match event in 2011. This was a joint initiative between New Zealand and Australia, which expanded in 2013 when a British team joined the competition and it became known as the Tri-Nation’s Butchers’ Challenge. This year, 2016, the addition of another newcomer, France, has seen the contest evolve into the World Butchers’ Challenge. The New Zealand team is organised by Retail Meat New Zealand.

The Pure South brand is owned by the Alliance Group Ltd cooperative.

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