Members of the Craft Butchery Team Wales
Members of the Craft Butchery Team Wales

A team of talented Welsh butchers is stepping up training in preparation for the World Butchers’ Challenge in the United States later this year.

Craft Butchery Team Wales will make their debut at the biennial competition, which will be contested by 16 countries from around the globe, in Sacramento, California in September. Defending champions are Celtic cousins Ireland.

The recently formed team, which is managed by retired butcher and experienced competition judge Steve Vaughan from Penyffordd, is a division of the Culinary Association of Wales.

Team captain Peter Rushforth from Innovative Food Ingredients, Lytham St Annes, is joined by Craig Holly, from Chris Hayman Butchers, Maesycymer, Hengoed,

Tom Jones from Jones Brothers, Wrexham, Matt Edwards, a lecturer at Coleg Cambria, Connah’s Quay, Dan Raftery from Randall Parker Foods, Llanidloes, Liam Lewis from The Hollies Farm Shop, Tarporley and Ben Roberts from M. E. Evans Butchers, Overton.

The World Butchers’ Challenge comprises several elements with competitions for teams of six butchers, young butchers and apprentice butchers. There are also individual prizes for best pork, lamb, beef, poultry and products and beef, pork and gourmet sausages.

In addition, the judges will select six butchers from all entrants for a ‘best of the best’ world team award.

During the competition, teams will be given three hours and 15 minutes to butcher a side of pork, side of beef, a whole lamb and five chickens. The meat will then be presented in a display.

Rushforth flew out to Sacramento last September for the Captains’ Run, which was designed to prepare international teams for this year’s competition.

The team is supported by co-ordinator Chris Jones, head of the food and drink business unit and training officer Frank Selby, both from Cambrian Training Company, Welshpool, which organises the Butchery WorldSkills UK competition.

A busy schedule of training days has been arranged by the team in the lead up to the competition.

Chris Jones said he was looking forward to exposing the talented Welsh butchers to global competition.

“We are now ramping up the training days to every other week in the run up to the competition in September,” he added. “We are also researching product development and hope to call on the expertise of the Culinary Team Wales, after they have competed in the IKA Culinary Olympics in Stuttgart next week, to bring their ideas onboard.

“Opportunities for Wales to compete in the World Butchers’ Challenge don’t come along very often. This competition will provide our butchers with a platform to compete against the best in the world.”

The team is still seeking sponsors to support the team’s quest for world glory. For more information, contact Chris Jones on Tel: 01938 555893 or 07811 266597 or email: [email protected]

Existing sponsors are AIMS (Association of Independent Meat Suppliers), Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales and Atlantic Services.