Young butcher wows the judges

A 16-year-old butcher from Pontardawe has been crowned Welsh Young Butcher of the Year in a contest organised by training provider Cambrian Training Company.

Tomos Hopkin from Ponty Butchers, who has only been employed in the butchery industry for three months, impressed judges with his skills and traditional clean cuts of oven-ready Welsh pork.

“I just couldn’t believe it when they announced the result. I was ecstatic. It was my first competition, so I didn’t know what to expect and I was so nervous at the beginning, my hands were shaking,” he said.

“Because of my lack of experience, I just managed to finish in time. My ambition is to open my own shop to sell meat from my father’s farm.”

Tomos’ reward for winning the contest, held at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair in Builth Wells, was a £200 cash prize, a special trophy and the honour of being the best young butcher in Wales.

Runner-up was defending champion Gareth Cole, 21, who works for his father, Paul, in the family butcher’s business at Neath Market. He received a cash prize of £100.

The competition, launched four years ago to showcase butchery skills, is organised and sponsored by Cambrian Training Company based in Welshpool and supported by Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales.

Cambrian Training Company MD Arwyn Watkins said: “Tomos only started his Foundation Modern Apprenticeship in Retail Butchery Skills three months ago, yet to watch him work, you would think he had been in the industry for years.”

“He worked methodically and produced really clean cuts with no waste. His father is a pedigree Welsh pig breeder, so it was fitting that he should win by presenting a range of oven-ready cuts of quality Welsh pork for the retail market.

“He has a great future in the industry. His family is very supportive and, hopefully, he will progress to other competitions,” he added.

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