South Island names its top butchers

South Island young butcher Anthony Ross in action.
Updated: Anthony Ross works for Pak n' Save Rangiora, not New World as we had been advised.

This year’s top butchers are being named in the early regional stages of the national Alto Young Butcher of the Year and Competenz Butcher Apprentice of the Year competitions.

The South Island was the first of four regions to kick off this year’s retail meat competitions and named Anthony Ross from Pak ‘n Save Rangiora as the best young butcher in the region, after an intense two hour clash of knives and butchery skills.

Given two hours to complete a practical cutting test, the South Island  butchers were required to showcase their knife skills transforming a No. 20 chicken, beef sirloin and pork shoulder into value-added products.

This will be the fourth year Ross has been involved in the competition and, after working in the trade for well over 10 years, he is certainly a keen contender for the national title.

“I love what I do so I’m just going to make sure that comes through at the next stage of the competition. Winning would be a huge boost for my career and help me advance to my next challenge,” he says.

In a touching tribute, the Bruce Wing Memorial Trophy was also presented to Ross for his passion and determination. The trophy was named in honour of a past competitor and talented butcher who was tragically killed in a car accident in 2009.

Ben Henry with trophy
Ben Henry with trophy.

Ben Henry from New World Centre City in Dunedin competed against eight other apprentices to take out the Competenz Apprentice of the Year category. He’ll be travelling to Auckland for the third time. He’s hoping his passion for the trade and his drive to excel will take him straight to the top.

“I’m always looking to see how I can do better and I enjoy learning from those around me. I think this time I’m ready to apply what I’ve learnt and it’s my time to show everyone else what I can do,” says Henry.

Another Canterbury local, Dyland Ohlson from New World Rangiora, was named as runner-up in the apprentice category – an accolade that will also take him to Auckland for the Grand Final, which will be held at Shed 10 in Auckland on 25 August. The butchers will be expected to perform a similar cutting test with the added challenges of a written exam and an interview to test their theoretical knowledge and communication skills.

The competition is supported by Alto Packaging, Competenz, Alliance Group, Beef + Lamb NZ Inc, Cabernet Foods, Dunninghams, Hellers, Kerry Ingredients, New Zealand Pork, Wilson Hellaby and Tegel.

The dates for the three remaining regionals are:

  • Central District/Lower North Island – Wednesday 22 June
  • Waikato – Wednesday 29 June
  • Upper North Island – Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 July.


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