Great day out at Butchers’ Fair

MTJ’s Butchers’ Fair Summer 2012, which took place this weekend (Sunday, 24 June) at Kempton Park Racecourse in Middlesex, was hailed a great success. The event saw exhibitors and butchers sharing skills and best practice, as well as meeting suppliers and peers to get the latest products and kit from leading industry companies.

Among the day’s activities, a series of industry-specific seminars took place on the main stage, including BBQ solutions from Q Guild chairman and butcher Brindon Addy, as well as a knowledge transfer and sous vide development presentation from Eblex master butcher Dick van Leeuwen and foodservice project manager Hugh Judd, as well as meat demonstrations from the Dalziel team.

Addy said that while it was great that butchers outsell the supermarkets when it comes to selling lamb, he warned that it was the supermarkets who had taken over the sausage and burgers market. He said that the potential for butchers to maximise their barbecue trade lay in dual-purpose joints, such as butterflied leg of lamb, beef chicken or rubbed brisket, as well as added-value products, but that butchers must help to educate customers to get the most out of these cuts.

Eblex’s Judd and Leeuwen talked about the organisation’s work in new development initiatives in maximising carcase utilisation, developing seam butchery to achieve consistency and improved product specifications, as well as making the most of cooking sous-vide (using a water bath).

Judd said: “The must-have new toy is a water bath. It was around before the likes of Heston Blumenthal, but it has become more popular since Heston began using them.” He demonstrated various cuts and the best way of cooking these. 

TV celebrity Anthea Turner was also on hand to present the awards for the ‘Butchers vs Bakers’ competition, run in conjunction with Bakers’ Fair, which was co-located with the event. The sausage roll competition was won by butcher Deborah Clark of Harpers Food, although the bakers claimed a narrow 3-1 victory after winning second prize in the sausage roll category and both places in the quiche competition. Hopefully, honour will  be restored at Butchers' Fair Autumn, which is being held in Harrogate in October.


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