Young butchers chosen to represent UK

Three young butchers have been selected to represent the UK at this year’s International Young Butcher Competition (IYBC), taking place later this month in the Netherlands. 

The butchers who will be flying the Union Jack are Chris Riley, from the Huntingdon branch of Walter Smith Butchers, Peter Rushforth from Swans Farm Shop in Mold, Wales and George Parker of Frank Parker Butchers in Warwickshire.

The butchers have to compete in six separate categories to display their skills in the bid to win the coveted title. This year will see the introduction of a ‘surprise’ category, where the competitors will be presented with a mystery box. Despite the new challenge, the young British butchers remain undeterred.

“You’ve got to be confident,” said 22-year-old Riley. Having already won several accolades, he is no stranger to competition.

“I always think you should aim high. If you’re going to go to a competition, then you should always aim for first place.”

Riley has previously won the Premier Young Butcher Competition, where he narrowly beat fellow competitor Rushforth to the top. “Next thing you know I’ve won that and everything has come together, and now I’m representing England,” exclaimed Riley. “It’s a dream come true.”

Rushforth, who has in the past won the Welsh Young Butcher of the Year, is feeling “overwhelmed” to have been chosen to represent the UK. However, he remains poised for when the competition takes place. He explained: “My confidence has grown week by week with the more practice I put in. It was a bit daunting at first because it’s quite a big deal.”

To ensure they are ready for the competition, the hopefuls have been receiving regular tuition from UK team coach and industry consultant Viv Harvey, alongside esteemed butcher Marco Peerdeman.

Keith Fisher, AHDB butchery development manager and chief executive of the Institute of Meat, will also be acting as UK judge. He will travel to Belgium with Harvey and the competitors later in the month when the competition gets under way.

The International Young Butcher UK Team is organised by the National Federation of Meat and Food Traders and is sponsored by ABP Food Group (UK), AHDB Beef & Lamb, AHDB Pork, Dalziel, the Institute of Meat, Leeds City College, Orange Butcher, Raps (UK), Weddel Swift and the Worshipful Company of Butchers.

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