Cheshire butcher crowned Butchery WorldSkills UK champion
Jason Edwards, who co-runs Littlers Butchers in Hartford, won the gold medal at the Butchery WorldSkills UK final, which took place over two days in November.
Just four points separated the top four butchers with the silver medal going to Ben Tindale, 32, from G. Shearer & Sons Butchers in Holbeach, Lincolnshire. Ben Roberts, 29, from M.E. Evans Traditional Butchers in Overton-on-Dee picked up bronze and Codie-Jo Carr, 20 – who has just launched JoJo’s The Village Butcheress at Gollogly Spaar, Keady, was highly commended.
Jason, 27, from Runcorn, expressed surprise and pleasure at the news of his triumph.
“I thought I would be in the race for third place, to be honest, because all the finalists did really well,” he said. “When it was announced that Ben Roberts was third, I thought that was it, I hadn’t won a medal.
“Certain things didn’t go as I would have liked in the final, but luckily it didn’t matter in the end. When I competed in the final in 2019, I won a bronze medal just 18 months into my Level 2 apprenticeship at Reaseheath College. Since then, I have been promoted to co-run the shop where I work and I have gained a lot more experience, including being given the creative rein to come up with new products.
“The only thing I did differently to the other finalists was to select rump muscle instead of the silverside for my display. I chose the rump because there are so many products that can be produced from the muscle and I focused on colour and cookability. Everything in my display could be cooked for the intended purpose.”
Held over two days at Reaseheath College in Nantwich, the finalists were judged on overall skill, innovation, creativity, presentation, work ethic, method and approach to tasks, carcass and primal utilisation, waste, and safe and hygenic working practice.
The judges were Keith Fisher from the Institute of Meat, Roger Kelsey from The National Craft Butchers and Viv Harvey, an independent consultant.
Organised by pan-Wales training provider Cambrian Training, the ButcheryWorldSkills UK competition is supported by an Industry Steering Group and sponsored by The Institute of Meat, The National Craft Butchers, The Worshipful Company of Butchers, Hybu Cig Cymru/Meat Promotion Wales and supported by FDQ.
Jason and Ben Tindale are members of Team GB squad while Ben Roberts is a member of the Craft Butchery Team Wales squad. Both teams will be competing at the World Butchers Challenge in Sacramento, USA in September 2022.
Chris Jones, head of Cambrian Training’s food and drink business unit, said: “It was probably the closest final we have had, with the positions changing quite a few times on the last day. Preparation and planning won the day for Jason.
“Whilst congratulations go to the medal winners, it was great to see Codie-Jo running them so close. Special thanks go to Reaseheath College for hosting the final this year.”
The other finalists were Jonah Clarke, 22, from M & W Farm Meats, Portadown, Ethan Hubbard, 17, from G. Shearer & Son Butchers, Holbeach and Richard Silverman, 41, from The Lambing Shed Farm Shop, Knutsford.
For an interview with bronze medal winner Ben Roberts, look out for the December issue of Meat Management.