Canada, Mexico and Iceland are the latest nations to put their meat where their mouths are and throw their knives into the ring, after being confirmed to compete in the 2020 World Butchers’ Challenge against twelve other nations.
The newly established teams of six will travel to Sacramento, California in the United States, where the competition is being held for the first time. They will be given just over three hours to transform a side of beef, a side of pork, a whole lamb and five chickens into a themed display of value-added cuts. With levels of creative innovation expected to exceed all boundaries, it will attract a crowd of passionate meat connoisseurs from across the globe.
The World Butchers’ Challenge has grown exponentially since it was established, from only two nations – Australia and New Zealand – in 2011, to twelve others stepping into the arena last year in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
The twelve teams that competed in 2018 are set to return and the desire to join the battle means a sixteenth place is currently being hotly contested for the 2020 Challenge.
Danny Johnson, team captain of the Butchers of America, says the addition of the three nations brings about a raft of new opportunity.
“That feeling of looking across the arena into the eyes of the best butchers from Italy, Greece, Australia and others – was incredible. These butchers are at the top of their game and although they’re competitors in one sense, being able to stand beside them is incredibly humbling.
“Thinking ahead to 2020, the fact these nations are on board brings on a new level of excitement. Not only to compete against them but for the possibilities of friendships and mentorships that open up for me and my team mates – I’d love to visit Iceland and see how their shops work!”
As the challenge has grown, so too has the preceding event – the World Champion Butcher Apprentice and Young Butcher competition.
Entries into either category are still open to young talent from around the world until March 31.
2018 World Champion Butcher Apprentice, Samantha Weller from New Zealand, believes the competition opened up new pathways for her career.
“Not only did I prove to myself that I had what it takes as an apprentice, at the competition in March I was able to watch the main event – the World Butchers’ Challenge – and had a chance to witness just how far my craft can actually take me.
“Regardless of the win, I’ve made some strong connections with other butchers from across the world and that has given me access to tools and information that set me ahead of the rest.”
For more information on the competition, including past results and team bios, visit worldbutcherschallenge.com