New Zealand’s retail meat industry proves there is plenty of skilled talent coming through the ranks as a total of 65 young retail butchers put themselves forward in the hopes of winning a national title.
The 65 men and women are set to showcase their skills in the upcoming regional stages of the 2016 Alto Young Butcher and Competenz Butcher Apprentice of the Year competition.
There are four regional competitions at which both a butcher apprentice and young butcher (who must be finished their apprenticeship and 30 years or under) will be selected to go head to head against other regional winners at the Grand Final in August.
Entrants competing in the regionals 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 products similar to what you would see in a butcher shop serve over. Those who make it through to the Grand Final will have another chance to display their knife skills but will also be put through a written exam and interview to assess their theoretical knowledge and communication ability.
Luka Young, runner-up in the 2015 Alto Young Butcher category and winner of the 2014 Competenz Butcher Apprentice category says he’s hoping for a hat trick this year.
“For me it’s another chance to improve the skills I already have. Each time I enter I’m forced to raise the bar even higher and bring another level to the competition than perhaps what I’ve done before,” says Young.
The Grand Final will be held at Shed 10 in Auckland on Thursday 25 August, with the overall winners being announced at a black tie dinner following the competition.
The dates for the regionals are as follows:
- South Island – Saturday 18 June
- Central Districts/Lower North Island – Wednesday 22 June
- Waikato – Wednesday 29 June
- Upper North Island – Saturday 2 & Sunday 3 July