FOODEX MEATEX - Young butchers strut their stuff

WITH NO English contestant available to participate in last week's Young Butcher Competition at Foodex Meatex it was left to those from Scoland, Wales and Northern Ireland to put on a show for visitors.

Gary Raeburn, Ben Freeman and Mark Tierney each produced colourful and carefully cut displays of meat in a demonstration that showed that the fine art of butchery is safe in the hands of today's youngsters.

Veteran judge Fred Mallion kept a friendly eye on the efforts of all three as they quickly built their displays around added value cuts of beef, pork, lamb and poultry. Mr Mallion said the standard of butchery from all three was high with clean cutting and good trimming. He passed on tips on how to turn a good display into a great one.

Gary works for his father at Forbes, Raeburn and Sons of Huntly, Aberdeenshire. Mark is employed by Clogher Valley Meats of Tyrone, while Ben is a butcher for his father in law, Ken Davies of Crymych in Pembrokeshire.

All three lads were presented with trophies to mark their efforts. David Grailey of the Meat Training Council, which hosted the event, said: "Their product innovation and variety was excellent, I have no doubt that these young men will soon be running profitable businesses of their own.

"This event has demonstrated that the right type of young person does make a valuable contribution to the retail butchery sector. We urge butchers to contact their local schools, careers advisory services, colleges and youth clubs to make young people aware of the jobs and opportunities available in their company.

"Due to the tremendous support from Meatex organisers William Reed, we look forward to staging the Nations Youth Championship in Creative Butchery at Meatex in 2008."

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