Butchers face anxious wait for medal news at the Olympics of Meat

Talented Welsh butcher Ben Roberts must wait until tonight (Sunday) to hear if he will be crowned World Champion Butcher Apprentice.

Ben Roberts with his meat display at the World Champion Butcher Apprentice competition in Sacramento.
Ben Roberts with his meat display at the World Champion Butcher Apprentice competition in Sacramento.

Ben, 30, from M. E. Evans Butchers, Overton-on-Dee, represented the Craft Butchery Team Wales in the competition on Friday as the World Butchers’ Challenge officially kicked off in Sacramento, California.

He and the other competing butchers from 13 countries around the globe had just two and half hours to break down a range of primal cuts into a display of pre-determined products and their own creations.

Hosted at the Golden 1 Centre in Sacramento, the competition for the world’s best apprentice butchers is modelled on the World Butchers' Challenge, which took place on Saturday.

Craft Butchery Team Wales co-ordinator Chris Jones, who is one of the judges at the global competition, said: “Ben did really well but we will have to wait until Sunday night for the results. He did Wales proud.”

The Craft Butchery Team Wales is competing for the first time in the World Butchers' Challenge, often referred to as the 'Olympics of Meat'. The event is livestreamed at https://www.worldbutcherschallenge.com/wbc2022livestream .

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.

The team comprises 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, Dan Raftery from Meat Masters Butchers, Newtown and Liam Lewis from Hawarden Farm Shop.

Team sponsors are Food and Drink Wales, the Welsh Government’s department representing the food and drink industry, Atlantic Service Company from Newport, AIMS (Association of Independent Meat Suppliers), Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales, Cambrian Training Company, Innovative Food Ingredients, M. E. Evans Butchers, Dick Knives and Tiny Rebel.

The competition runs 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.

Winners of all the competitions will be announced during an awards ceremony at Memorial Auditorium later tonight, after the Shropshire Star goes to press.

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