Chris Riley named Britain’s Premier Young Butcher 2014

The National Federation of Meat and Food Traders (NFMFT) has named Chris Riley, 22, Woodlands Farm Shop, Leicestershire, as Britain’s Premier Young Butcher.

Riley won four out the six categories which included: Display, Ready to Eat, Stuffed Roast, Seam Butchery, Barbecue and Kitchen-ready Products.

The NFMFT picked the six young finalists, aged 18-23, from hundreds of applicants to compete over five hours at this year’s Foodex, held at Birmingham’s NEC on 25 March 2014.

Riley said he was “over the moon” to have won. “I have been working 24/7 on it to get everything right; it has been a long ride, but it has finally paid off.”

He continued: “This is the first competition I have done, so to win feels fantastic. The experience was phenomenal. I tried to keep my head down as much as possible; because of the number of people who were there – I wouldn’t have been able to take the pressure.

“I started off with my ready-to-eat product; I worked with a colleague to develop the mushroom and free-range sausage meat with caramelised onion pastry shell pie”.

Runner-up was awarded to the youngest competitor, Peter Rushforth, 18, who works for Clive Swan in Truddyn, Flintshire. “It was a long day, but I learnt a lot. The judges were very helpful and I will take a lot home with me. I went for a much more traditional approach to the butchery, where I come from in Wales – it’s the way we do it. But I experimented with the garnishes and relishes in the barbecue and ready-to-eat categories. I think it’s important to keep both aspects of it,” said Rushforth.

George Parker of Frank Parker Butchers in Nuneaton, Warwickshire won the Ready to Eat category and was highly commended for his Kitchen Ready selection. Former Royal Marine trainee Joshua Brown, working at Essington Farm Shop in Wolverhampton, won the Kitchen Ready category.

Meanwhile Owen Taylor Butcher’s apprentice John Rendell from Leabrook was highly commended in the seam butchery and display categories.

“I couldn’t have competed against any better lads; we are all young and have a lot to come in the future,” Riley concluded.

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