Team GB puts finishing touches to Tri-Nations preparations

In an effort to secure a victory at next month’s Tri-Nations Butchers Challenge, Team GB is to hold its final practice session and get-together at The Food Academy at Leeds City College, on Wednesday, August 26. 

The ultimate butchery competition between Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain will take place from September 5-10 in Auckland, where the three six-man teams will be challenged to turn a side of beef and whole lamb carcase into an original and creative display within two hours.

With a combined total of over 120 years’ experience in the butchery industry and a wealth of skills to draw on, this year’s Team GB is hoping to land the top honour.

Team GB’s captain David Lishman, of Lishmans of Ilkley in West Yorkshire, has owned his butchers shop for nearly 30 years. David’s skills lie in his ability to promote quality cuts in creative ways, something he has grown up with being the son of a farmer. He is committed to nurturing young talent within the trade, which he believes can be achieved through the Tri-Nations Challenge.

Team GB’s finisher Gary Raeburn, from Forbes Raeburn The Family Butcher in Huntly, Aberdeenshire, is a third generation butcher working in his family business. He also rears his own native breeds of cattle on his small family farm which, coupled with his butchery heritage, has provided him with deep and detailed product knowledge. Gary is a seasoned competitor, having won a number of titles over the years, including being named the Meat Trade Journal’s UK Young Butcher of the Year in 2010.

Breaker/Boner Tom Wood, from Huntleys Country Stores in Samlesbury, Preston, Lancashire, joins the team having been bought up on a farm and learning the trade from a young age, through his father’s wholesale business. He regularly attends livestock shows to increase his knowledge and performs live cutting demonstrations. Tom’s skills lie in his precision and quick timings.

Finisher/Dresser Chris Glaysher, from Glaysher Family Butchers in Basingstoke, Hampshire, is a bronze, silver and gold competition winner. His homemade sausages and pies have won a number of prizes over the years. Owning his own business has meant Chris knows what it takes to craft an appealing meat counter.

Maurice Stephenson, from Nigel Fredericks in London, is responsible for the small goods and sausage products this year. Maurice began his butchery career at just 14 years of age. Having completed his training at Smithfield College, he went to work for a number of large processors before leading the launch of a high-street retail store for a well-known Hampshire-based farm. Now heading up food innovation for a catering butcher means Maurice brings a host of new product development skills to the team to give them an inventive edge.

Team GB’s prepper Andrew Ayris, from Andrews Family Butchers in Marlborough, Wiltshire, has been in the industry for over 30 years. Starting his career as a butcher’s boy, Andrew ran a number of large abattoirs before opening his own shop in Marlborough. Andrew’s skills lie in his ability to merge traditional cuts with international and modern flavours.

Team manager Danny Upson brings a wealth of experience to the team thanks to various positions held within the butchery industry. He has worked closely with butchers all over the country, helping them to push their business forward with innovation, new product ideas and promotions. In his current role at the Dalziel Group, which serves the meat processing, retail butchery and butcher supply industry, he is responsible for the retail butchery market and is always looking for the latest innovative products, which he shares with this year’s team.

Laura Ryan, AHDB Beef & Lamb’s head of marketing strategy, said: “This year’s team are working tremendously hard to ensure they are crowned the 2015 victors. Hosting regular practice sessions, under timed conditions, has given the team an insight into what to expect next month, and I feel it puts us in the best possible positon to be successful.

“Each team member has bought a different skill set to the group, ensuring we have a real breadth of skills. Not only does this maximise our chances of winning, but it also highlights how important the competition is in sharing good practice and showcasing the profession to the next generation of butchers.”

Team captain David Lishman said: “Our team this year is enthusiastic and skilled, and we are looking forward to showcasing our skills in Auckland. We are working with some of the best produce and people in the industry, and are quietly confident that we will lift the trophy this year.”

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