Premier Young Butcher 2017 crowned at Meatup

Premier Young Butcher 2017 crowned at Meatup

The knives were out and the chopping blocks were in prime condition on Thursday 25th May as young butchers battled against each other for a coveted national award.

Premier Young Butcher 2017, James Gracey of Quails of Dromore.

The Premier Young Butcher 2017 competition was held at meat industry exhibition Meatup. The event saw a shortlist of top 18 to 23-year-old butchers put to the test in front of a live audience.

After a full day of challenges, James Gracey, of Quails of Dromore in Northern Ireland, who is studying with Southern Regional College, won the Premier Young Butcher 2017 accolade.

Competing against James for the title, as well as 14 other trophies, were: Jack Eagles of C Lidgate in London, Elsie Yardley of Hard’s of Halstead, and Thomas Lea of Walter Smith, who was declared runner up.

Exhausted and proud after a full day of competing, James said: “It’s been hectic, I’ve come from Northern Ireland and have been preparing since I arrived. You enter the competition because you want to win, but to actually win is brilliant. It makes all the hard work worthwhile.”

The competition was hosted by the National Federation of Meat & Food Traders (NFMFT) during Meatup at ArenaMK, Milton Keynes.

At the prize giving, chief judge Keith Fisher, the chief executive of The Institute of Meat, commented: “It’s been superb, we’ve had a very successful show. Today has been fantastic. It’s about the fifth or sixth time I’ve been head judge and every year the competitors throw out something new. Competitions like these are important for the next generation. The skill level of these young people is great. Winning events like these builds their confidence and helps them get further in the industry.”

L-R James Gracey, Elsie Yardley, Jack Eagles and Thomas Lea

This competition was just one of many highlights at Meatup. Day one of the show featured the National Meat Products Competition, butchers also put their skills to the test in heats for Team GB of the World Butchers’ Challenge across both show days, and guests enjoyed a topical seminar programme from industry experts.

Meatup show organiser Emma Cash said: “The team were delighted to help stage the prestigious Premier Young Butcher competition at Meatup. This accolade offers fantastic exposure for butchers and we hope James Gracey makes the most of this winning opportunity.

“We’ve enjoyed an interesting two days at the Meatup show and I would like to thank everyone for participating.”

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