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Lower North Island Butchers Sharpen Up For Competition

Butchers from across the lower North Island sharpened their knives and cut their way through a two-hour competition in the regional stages of the 2020 Alto Young Butcher and ANZCO Foods Butcher Apprentice of the Year competition.

It was a close call, but after a fierce competition Braham Pink from Evans Bacon Company in Gisborne placed first in the Alto Young Butcher of the Year category and Jacob Wells from New World Foxton, claimed first spot in the ANZCO Foods Butcher Apprentice of the Year category.

This was the first regional competition in a national series to find New Zealand’s top butchers to compete in a Grand Final showdown in November. The lower North Island contestants put their boning, trimming, slicing and dicing skills to the test as they broke down a size 20 chicken, a whole pork leg, and a beef short loin into a display of value-added products.

Braham has been a qualified butcher for just over a year but has been in the meat industry for six and a half years and says it’s an industry he absolutely loves. This was his first competition and says without the support of his colleagues he wouldn’t have been able to perform as well as he did.

“I am so fortunate to be surrounded by a fantastic crew of butchers who have been so supportive”, says Braham. “I loved the challenge and I’m ecstatic about the win and looking forward to what is coming next.”

21 year old Jacob Wells is in his second year of his butcher apprenticeship at New World Foxton. He has put in the hours practicing most nights after work to get to competition standard, which paid off big time. Jacob also attributes his success to his mentors and manager who helped not only to get him to the competition, but encouraged him to believe in himself.

“I wanted to challenge myself and I’m really proud to come out with the win,” says Jacob.

Braham and Jacob will now continue on to the Grand Final, which is taking place on Tuesday 10th November at the ASB Showgrounds in Auckland, where they will further showcase their cutting skills, creativity and knowledge of the trade against the best in the country.

Head Judge Peter Martin who is Butchery Manager of Fresh Choice in Cromwell, is a strong advocate of butchery competitions.

“I believe the gains are huge for every entrant who has had to plan, practice and come up with creative ideas in order to compete against their peers today,” he says. “It not only boosts their confidence, but helps to raise the standard in the industry”.

Peter is particularly excited about the new mentorship programme introduced to the competition this year which has helped guide and support entrants giving them the confidence to put their best knife forward on the day.

“The mentorship programme has given entrants a boost and it’s clear to see the standard of the competition has been elevated this year. The high calibre of knife skills and the quality of the final displays made it a very close competition,” he says.

Alongside industry and peer recognition, the winning Alto Young Butcher and ANZCO Foods Butcher Apprentice of the Year receive a coveted trophy and study tour.

The competition is proudly sponsored by Alto Packaging, ANZCO Foods, Pure South, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Competenz, Dunninghams, Hellers, Tegel and Wilson Hellaby.

Images can be downloaded from here.


Lower North Island

11th September 2020

WelTec School of Hospitality, 52 Cuba Street, Wellington

Lower South Island

18th September 2020

New World Centre City, 133 Great King Street, Dunedin

Upper South Island

19th September 2020

Ara Institute of Canterbury, School of Food and Hospitality, Cnr Ferry Rd & Madras St, Christchurch

Waikato/Central North Island

24th September 2020

PAK’nSAVE, Mill Street, Hamilton

Upper North Island

26th & 27th September 2020

Skills4Work, Manukau, Auckland

Grand Final

Tuesday 10th November 2020

ASB Showgrounds, Auckland

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