21-11-2013 02:35 AM | News, Organic, Produce

Former champion Tomos returns for young butchers showdown

Former champion Tomos returns for young butchers showdown
Former champion Tomos Hopkin returns to action to try and win the Welsh Young Butcher Competition for the fourth time next month.

Hopkins, 20, from Gwyrhyd Mountain Meat, Rhiwfawr, near Swansea, is one of four young butchers selected for the showpiece final at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair in Builth Wells on Tuesday, December 3.

He is unbeaten in the competition, having won the title for three years in a row before stepping up to the judging panel last year, when Tomi Jones, 23, from Jones' Butchers, Llangollen took the honours. Jones is keen to defend the title to cap a memorable 2013.

Out to upset the odds are Jones’ former employee Mathew Edwards, 22, who now works for S. A. Vaughan Family Butchers, Penyfford, near Chester and 18-year-old Peter Rushforth from Swans Farm Shop, Treuddyn, Mold

There was little to choose between Jones and Edwards in last year’s final and another close encounter is anticipated between the four young butchers this time.

Edwards clinched overall runners up spot in The National Federation of Meat and Food Traders’ Premier Young Butcher competition at the NEC, Birmingham earlier this year after achieving a category win and three runners up places.

Jones won the kitchen ready category at the event, which was held on the first day of MEATUP 2013 show. It has been a memorable year for him, as he was named VQ Learner of the Year in June and was last month made an ambassador for the 'Future Skills...food for thought' campaign.

The Welsh Young Butcher Competition provides platform for the top young butchers in Wales to showcase their skills and prove they are a cut above the rest. The competition is organised by award-winning training provider Cambrian Training Company, based in Welshpool and co-sponsored by Castell Howell and Pearson Edexcel.

The winner will receive £200 prizemoney and a trophy, with two runners up collecting £100 and £50 respectively. The finalists were selected from entries that were accompanied by a written explanation why adding value to their Welsh meat product range with their butchery skills is important and will attract new and existing customers.

The finalists will be challenged to butcher a brisket of Welsh Beef, a shoulder of Welsh Lamb, half a saddle of Welsh Pork and a whole chicken into cuts of their choice that add value and saleability.

Experienced judges Steve Williams and Colin Harris from Castell Howell and Steve Morgans, from Morgans Butchers, Brecon, will be looking for creative ideas, cutting and display techniques, added value, food safety and personal hygiene, maximum carcass yield and skills content.

Cambrian Training Company’s managing director Arwyn Watkins said: “Every year, young butchers manage to raise the bar with their high level skills, which helps to promote butchery as an exciting and rewarding career. Our ultimate aim is to develop world class skills in Wales so that our young butchers can compete with the best at international level.”


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