INDEPENDENTS' DAY - This is how you do it

Independents' Day at a revitalised Foodex Meatex proved to be a roaring success for visiting butchers.

WITH ENTRIES totalling 367 there was plenty of work for the judges at last week's Independents Day, the butchers' day feature at Foodex Meatex. The biggest entry of the day was for the sausage evaluation, attracting 233 entries. Of these 141 were awarded Gold certificates, 54 Silver, and 18 Bronze. Fifteen were unclassified.

The pie evaluation also saw a good entry level with 97 different types entered, the majority being pork pies. Gold certificates were awarded to 56 entries, Silver to 33 and Bronze to seven. There was a single winner in the prestigious Champion of Champions competition. Butchers from around the country watched the workshops as well as entering the sausage and pie evaluations.

David Gates, from The Butcher's Shop, Millford-on-Sea in Hampshire, said: "I came here primarily for both the competitions. The workshops though, have been very interesting for me. It's always useful listening to someone else's views about how to do things and talking to other butchers as well is helpful."

Father and son team David and James Mounfield of Mounfield Butchers in York, said they also found the workshops a useful exercise when considering their own sausage and pie making methods.

James Mounfield said: "You are never too old to learn something new, there's always something to improve on and it's just useful to see how other people do it."David said: "If you want to get into competitions it's interesting on the sausage side to pick up little tips that you wouldn't think would matter to the judges."

Managing director of Higginson's Butchers in Cumbria, Stuart Higginson, said 12 of his 24 staff had travelled to Foodex Meatex for Independent's Day. He said workshops were good for picking up on the finer points of the techniques and the competitions encouraged and motivated staff.

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