Shropshire Star

Butchers sharpen their knives for world contest

The Craft Butchery Team Wales, back row from left Ben Roberts and Dan Raftery, (middle row) Matthew Edwards and Craig Holly, (front row) Tom Jones, Peter Rushforth and Liam Lewis

Welsh butchers from Newtown and Overton-on-Dee near the north Shropshire border are part of a team preparing to take on the best during the World Butchers' Challenge on September 2 and September 3.

The team of talented Welsh butchers is primed and ready to represent Wales with pride the the event in Sacramento, California, after an intensive period of training in preparation for the Challenge.

Ben Roberts from M. E. Evans Butchers, Overton-on-Dee, and Dan Raftery, from Meat Masters Butchers in Newtown, will be among those in the talented team of Welsh butchers sharpening their knives.

With butchers from across the globe battling it out to become world champions, the competition is often referred to as the Olympics of Meat.

Formed in 2020 and managed by retired butcher and experienced competition judge Steve Vaughan, from Penyffordd, near Wrexham, the Craft Butchery Team Wales is a division of the Culinary Association of Wales.

The team also comprises of Peter Rushforth from Innovative Food Ingredients, Lytham St Annes, who is captain, Craig Holly, from Chris Hayman Butchers, Maesycymer, Hengoed, Tom Jones from Jones Brothers, Wrexham, Matthew Edwards, a lecturer at Coleg Cambria, Connah’s Quay, and Liam Lewis from Hawarden Farm Shop.

The Welsh team, who fly out to Sacramento on August 30, will be making their debut in the competition where Celtic cousins Ireland will be defending their title. against 12 other countries.

Head of Cambrian Training Company food and drink business unit Jones The team’s final training session was held on Sunday, when Chris Jones, head of Cambrian Training Company’s food and drink business unit, put his judge’s hat on to cast a strict eye over the butchers’ work.

He said: “The team has improved so much in the last six weeks in terms of being organised, methodical and fast.

"The team spirit is great and we are one of the few countries in the competition that has had the same members since the cycle began.

“We are also very lucky to have fantastic support from our sponsors and others associated with the team.”

The competition is conducted over three hours and 15 minutes, with competing teams given a side of beef, a side of pork, a whole lamb and five chickens which they must then transform into a themed display of value-added products.

Independent judges score each team based on technique and skill, workmanship, product innovation, overall finish and presentation.

Ben Roberts will represent Wales in the World Champion Butcher Apprentice competition on September 2.

The Welsh team, who fly out to Sacramento on August 30, will be making their debut at the World Butchers’ Challenge where Celtic cousins Ireland will be defending their title.

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