Two butchers from the top of their respective islands have won top awards in the National Butchery contest.
Luka Young from PAK’nSAVE Kaitaia won the Pact Packaging Young Butcher of the Year title and Morgan Moore from New World in Motueka the ANZCO Foods Butcher Apprentice of the Year.
For Young the award was culmination of several previous attempts.
“I knew if I kept backing myself it would pay off,” he said.
“I think my experience and creativity set me apart in the competition and especially the mentorship from Hellers Sharp Blacks Captain Riki Kerekere has helped immensely.”
ANZCO Foods Butcher Apprentice of the Year Morgan Moore attributed her victory to the support of family and others.
“I didn’t win this for me, I won for everybody who’s got me here,” she said.
Finalists were chosen from five regional competitions held in June and July in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch, and Dunedin, involving 11 Young Butcher competitors and 45 vying for the Butcher Apprentice gong.
The two-hour test required the six finalists to demonstrate their technical and creative skills in front of a team of eight judges.
They had to bone, trim, slice and dice a Size 20 chicken, a full pork loin, a beef rump, a leg of lamb and a mystery cut of lamb rack into a display of value-added products.
Apprentices were additionally required to complete a multiple-choice exam and an interview with the judges.
The contest also included the Pure South Master Butcher Teams Challenge, which required teams to create an elaborate display.
This year saw four teams of three qualified master butchers showcase their craft. They were given two hours to break down a whole lamb and a beef hindquarter and create a display.
It was a close contest but Team Cowboys, James Smith, aka The Tattooed Butcher, Craig Haize and Charles Compston, both from Franklin Meats, received a perfect score.
Both the Pact Packaging Young Butcher of the Year and the ANZCO Foods Butcher Apprentice of the Year receive a trophy and an all-expenses paid trip to Paris for the next World Butchers’ Challenge in 2025.
The winning Pure South Master Butcher team received a trophy and prize money.