Search starts for NZ’s best retail butcher

Jeremy Garth in action at the 2014 Alto Young Butcher of the Year competition.

The knives are out as the search begins for NZ’s best retail butcher, with entries for the 2017 Alto Butcher and Competenz Butcher Apprentice of the Year now officially open.

Stalwarts of the industry now have their chance to showcase their skills as the age requirement has been dropped from what was previously known as the Alto Young Butcher of the Year.

Head judge, Matt Grimes has been involved with the competition for over 10 years and thinks the changes to this year’s event will make it even more competitive.

“I’m hoping that butchers who have been in the trade for years will jump at the opportunity to sharpen their knives and step up to prove their skills against the fresher faced of the industry,” says Grimes.

Entrants in both categories, will first compete in one of three regional heats with the top butcher and apprentice in each area moving on to the Grand Final. In each category, another seven butchers will be selected nationally, based on their regional scores to produce ten finalists.

During the regional heats, each butcher must complete a practical cutting test in which they will have two hours to turn a whole beef sirloin, pork shoulder and a size 20 chicken into a display of value-added products.

The twenty butchers who make it to the Grand Final will be put through their paces once again in front of industry who will be interested in the potential of what these butchers bring to the table.

2014 Alto Young Butcher runner up Jeremy Garth has just been selected as part of New Zealand’s butchery team, the Pure South Sharp Blacks and credits the competition as beinga great stepping stone to making it to the top of his field.

“The competition was a good learning curve, being surrounded with like-minded people meant I was constantly challenged and I was able to network with many industry heavyweights, including the Pure South Sharp Blacks team selectors, that I wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity to,” says Garth.

The Grand Final will be held at Shed 10 in Auckland on Thursday 31 August, with the overall winners, who will each receive an international study tour, being announced at a black-tie dinner following the competitions.

Entries in to both competitions close on Wednesday 31 May 2017.

The dates for the regionals are as follows:

  • South Island – Saturday 10 June
  • Lower North Island – Friday 16 June
  • Upper North Island – Saturday 1 & Sunday 2 July

The competition is proudly sponsored by Alto Packaging, Competenz, Wilson Hellaby, Alliance Group Ltd, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Dunninghams, Hellers, Kerry Ingredients, New Zealand Pork and Tegel.

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