Meat Skills Northern Ireland

Two young Northern Irish butchers have triumphed in the Meat Skills Northern Ireland competition, organised by Scottish Meat Training (SMT).

Two young Northern Irish butchers have triumphed in the Meat Skills Northern Ireland competition, organised by Scottish Meat Training (SMT).

Declan Robinson from O'Kane Meats in Claudy topped the field in the overall category, while Fraser Orr, who works at Angus Farm Shop, Greyabbey, won the Young Butcher award (for those under 22 years of age).

The talented duo beat six other finalists selected from 25 entrants at the event at Templepatrick. Each was given the same cut of meat and their task was to bone, process and display products made out of them, all within two-and-a-half hours.

Judge George Lees said: "The standard was extremely good, especially considering that all entrants were first-time competitors in such an event. No praise would be too high for the enthusiasm and attitude of the entrants."

The competition formed part of the presentation ceremony to 41 trainees in the province who had achieved their Level 2 NVQ in Meat and Poultry Processing and the event also included a speciality sausage competition. This attracted 111 entries featuring ingredients as diverse as Magners Cider, mango, ginger and honey, with the top Diamond award going to an Irish herb creation from Stewarts Family Butchers in Enniskillen.

Aisling McDwyer from Stewarts said the inspiration for the winning sausage, created only three days before the competition, had come from a herb mix used for croutons.

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