Premier Young Butcher shortlist revealed

This year’s nine butchers shortlisted for the Premier Young Butcher 2017 have been named. 

Out of the nine 18-23-year-olds, six will then be selected to go forward to compete in the final on Thursday, 25 May 2017. 14 awards are up for grabs in ‘Ready to Eat’, ‘Stuffed Roast’, ‘Seam Butchery’, ‘Barbecue’, ‘Kitchen Ready’ and ‘Display’ categories. A runner-up and overall Premier Young Butcher 2017 will also be awarded. To be shortlisted, the young butchers had to complete an application form by Wednesday, 1 February. They will now move forward for selection where the final six will be named in March.

Hoping to make it to the grand final is 19-year-old Jack Eagles, a Meat Ipswich level 2 Meat and Poultry apprentice, who works for C Lidgate in Holland Park, London. Also shortlisted is Sam Deighton who, at 18, is the youngest shortlisted butcher. Deighton is a Plumpton College level 2 Trailblazer Butchery student working at Barfields Butchers in Brighton.

Also through to the final nine is Matthew Freeburn from County Armagh, Northern Ireland. The 20-year-old is a level 3 HACCP, Food Safety and Food Industry Skills apprentice working for Wilkinson’s Butchers and Delicatessen in Tandragee.

Jack Fisher of Walter Smith in Lichfield has been named as one of the nine shortlisted butchers. The 22-year-old is an Apprenticeship Ambassador and Level 3 Meat and Poultry apprentice.

At 19, Matthew Guiney from Belfast is hoping he’ll make it to the final six. The Northern Irish butcher works at Quails Butchers in Banbridge and is completing his level 2 Diploma in Professional Butchery.

From Walter Smith, Wyevale Huntingdon, is Thomas Lea, a level 2 Meat and Poultry and Advanced Butchery Trailblazer apprentice who has made it this far. 19-year-old Harry Smith from Stafford College will join Lea. Smith is a catering student and works for Aubrey Allen in Leamington Spa.

Rounding off the final nine are returning competitors, James Gracey and Elsie Yardley. 21-year-old Gracey is a WorldSkills UK butchery finalist and works for Quails of Dromore in Co Down, Northern Ireland. He already has a level 2 Butchery and Hygiene, level 3 Butchery, a level 4 Food Hygiene qualification and is a level 5 Management apprentice.

At 22, Yardley is the only girl who has been shortlisted. She is a Meat Ipswich level 2 HACCP and level 3 Health & Hygiene and a Meat and Poultry apprentice who got a level 3 distinction in Art and Design before pursuing a career in butchery.

Premier Young Butcher 2017 is organised by the National Federation of Meat and Food Traders (NFMFT) and sponsored by AHDB Beef & Lamb, AHDB Pork, Cambrian Training, Institute of Meat, MEAT Ipswich, RAPS UK, Scotch Butchers Club, Weddel Swift and the Worshipful Company of Butchers.

Roger Kelsey, chief exeuctive of the NFMFT, told Meat Trades Journal: "In a rigorous selection process the applicants must prove themselves proficient with ready to eat, stuffed roast, seam butchery, barbecue, kitchen ready and display techniques. Competiting in Premier Young Butcher means demonstrating all round knowledge, innovation and skill which in the past has led to some great career opportunities for many contests."

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