BBC Young Butcher show returns
The BBC is to launch a second series of its hunt for the best young butcher in Britain. However, the announcement has provoked a mixed response from industry, with strong criticism from north of the border.
Douglas Scott, chief executive of the Scottish Federation of Meat Traders Association, has refused to support the television show, after describing the first series as a "slur on the industry". He said: "It could have been a wonderful showcase of the skills and knowledge that make craft butchers different. Sadly, it is debatable whether 'Chop Idol', as it was termed, did the meat industry any good at all."
The axing of the young Scottish hopeful Gary Raeburn early on in the competition was described as an "insult". He said: "Scotland's young hopeful was ditched at the first opportunity, for no other reason than the judges didn't like the taste of his sausages."
He also highlighted the fact that the programme's knowledge quiz used obscure and inaccurate questions and answers. "Worst of all was the definition of lamb sweetbreads, where the judges bizarrely sought out the wrong answer of testicles."
However, others in the trade were less concerned. Graham Bidston, chief executive of the National Federation of Meat and Food Traders, said: "It was the first time out, so I would say it was reasonably balanced. It was good to get the opportunity to show to the public that there are skills out there, and it's not all done in a factory."
He did have some concerns, but urged the BBC to have greater involvement with the industry over the show: "Obviously they could have done better on the technical front, referring to beef as cow for example, but hopefully we'll have the opportunity to talk to them this time and have a bit more input into it."
Philip Cranston, chair of the Q Guild, said: "I'm pleased to see it back. I can see people's point of view, but it was produced for TV. It was hyped up a bit, but anything that focuses on craft skills has got to be good for the industry. All the cookery programmes are tarted up, but it's done the food industry no harm. In this situation it's good publicity."
Dominic Bird, executive editor of BBC Entertainment, said: "Our intention in making Young Butcher of The Year was always to celebrate the extraordinary, but unsung talent working in the meat industry. Our aim was to inspire, educate and entertain a broad young audience and demonstrate the passion that exists within the profession.
"We're determined to build on the success of last year's show, so we're listening very closely to all the industry feedback to ensure the programme reflects the talent and skill within the sector in the best possible light."
Any young butchers looking to take part in the show need to apply to email@example.com before 31 July.
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