Defending Welsh Young Butcher champion Peter Rushforth will be up against three times former winner Tomos Hopkin in this year’s final at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair in Builth Wells on Monday.
Rushforth, 20, from Swans Farm Shop, Treuddyn, Mold, goes into the competition fresh from winning a bronze medal at the Butchery WorldSkills UK National Competition final at the Skills Show last weekend.
Having also represented Great Britain in a European butchery contest recently, he is keen to defend the Welsh Young Butcher title. “I have got stiff competition but I have learnt a lot from the WorldSkills UK final which should hold me in good stead,” he said.
“I’m sure that Tomos will be keen to regain the title and I am expecting a tough competition from all the finalists.”
It promises to be a busy day for both Rushforth and Hopkin, 22, from Gwyrhyd Mountain Meat, Rhiwfawr, Swansea, who will go straight into the afternoon’s Welsh Young Butcher contest after also competing in the new Welsh Pork Butcher Competition in the morning.
The other finalists in the Welsh Young Butcher contest, which is open to butchers under the age of 25, are Dewi Davies and Jed Jones both from Celtica Foods Ltd, Cross Hands.
The other finalists in the Welsh Pork Butcher contest, which is open to butchers of all ages, are Clinton Robert from Ponty Butchers, Pontardawe and Dave Lang from New Inn Butchers Shop, Newbridge-on-Wye.
The Welsh Young Butcher Competition is organised by award winning, Welshpool-based Cambrian Training Company, who are also collaborating with Keith Brown, the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society’s meat production competitions chief steward, to jointly run the Welsh Pork Butcher contest.
The young butcher contest is sponsored jointly by Hybu Cymru (Meat Promotion Wales), Randall Parker Foods, Llanidloes and WMO, Welshpool. Apart from having the kudos of being named Wales’ best young butcher, the winner will receive a cheque for £130, while the runner up will receive £70 and all four finalists will receive a trophy.
This year, the young butchers will be challenged to produce a display of meat in two hours from a whole top rump of Welsh Beef, a leg of PGI Welsh Lamb, half a shoulder of Welsh Pork and a whole Cefn Llan Welsh chicken.
The pork butcher competition is being sponsored jointly by the British Pig Association and Hybu Cig Cymru. Butchers will be given two hours to create an innovative and creative display from half a Welsh pig, using either modern or traditional methods to best promote Welsh Pork to consumers. The winner will receive £130 and runner up £70.
Butchers in both contests must choose cuts to maximise saleability and product value, with the judges looking for new, creative ideas, cutting technique, added value, display techniques, HACCP and personal hygiene and maximum yield from the carcasses.
Arwyn Watkins, Cambrian Training Company’s managing director, said: “These two competitions provide the perfect platform for Welsh butchers of all ages to showcase their skills at a major event. It’s a great honour to be the best in Wales at your chosen vocation.”
Mr Brown said the new competition is designed to give butchers of all ages an opportunity to have their skills recognised while at the same time promoting Welsh Pork.
“We are always trying to find ways to promote Welsh Pork and this competition coincides with new Porc.Wales initiative by Hybu Cig Cymru,” he added. “Porc.Wales aims to provide a platform for both producers and retailers to promote pork from pigs born and bred here in Wales.”
Cambrian Training Company delivers apprenticeships which are funded by the Welsh Government with the support of the European Social Fund.