Meet the female ‘British Beefeater’ – Jessica Leliuga
With the World Butchers’ Challenge (WBC) taking place later this month, Meat Management spoke exclusively to Team GB’s only female – Jessica Leliuga of Ye Olde Sausage Shop.
Why did you choose a career as a butcher?
It just sort of happened really. My cousin bought a shop and I ended up becoming involved and really enjoyed it.
What do you enjoy about the sector?
Every day is composed of many elements and I like that variety. I particularly enjoy preparing the counter display. It can look different every day.
Any advice for other butchers aspiring to compete in competitions such as WBC?
There is nothing to lose, why not try out for it? I tried out thinking I wouldn’t get in but I wanted to give it a go. Competitions are a great way for different people to come together and give each other ideas. There’s also a great feeling of solidarity – we’re not doing this for ourselves, we’re doing it for our country! The competition has also created a buzz in the shop with customers asking about it.
What are your views on women in the sector?
A small number of people still tend to assume that butchery is for men. However, women can bring a different flair to the job especially when it comes to preparing intricate products. This industry offers excellent opportunities for men and women alike and it would be good to see more awareness of female butchers amongst consumers and industry. I do sometimes get the odd customer come into the shop asking me: “Can I speak to the butcher please?”
What are your hopes for the future?
I would like to spread the butchery word to more women!
What is your favourite meat dish?
I love lasagne but it’s quite fiddly to make. I think I have to say sausages!
About the World Butchers’ Challenge
Now known as the biggest butchery competition in existence, the World Butchers’ Challenge takes place on 21st March – and Team GB, known as the British Beefeaters, will be representing the UK.
Six of the UK’s best butchers will go to head with teams from Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA for the world championship title during IFEX 2018 at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast.
Team GB representatives include Michael Dufton, Knitsley Farm Shop; Mark Ramsay, Falleninch Farm Butchers, Stirling; Simon Taylor, Surrey Hills Butchers, Oxshot; Bryce Lawson, McMurchie Meats, Hetton-le-Hole, County Durham; Jessica Leliuga, Ye OIde Sausage Shop, Oswaldtwistle, Lancs and Tom Wood (captain), Tom Wood Artisan Butchers.
Meat Management is supporting Team GB as its official trade media partner. For more information on the competition visit www.worldbutcherschallenge.com.
Meat Management also hosts the new Women In Meat Industry Awards which feature a Craft Butchery category. For further information visit www.meatmanagement.com/women-in-meat-industry-awards/.