James Biggs and Ben Henry, both from New World Centre City in Dunedin, were announced as the winners of the Alto Young Butcher category and Competenz Butcher Apprentice category, respectively.
Entrants had two hours to showcase their practical skills in a competitive cutting test, where they were expected to turn a beef rump, pork loin and a size 20 chicken into a display of value-added cuts.
In addition, the competitors also sat a written exam and were interviewed by the judges to test their communication skills and knowledge of the trade.
James, who spends his spare time playing the drums in a punk rock’n’ roll band, say it’s the creative element of butchery that’s drawn him to a career in the meat industry.
“I am lucky enough to have developed my skills at New World Centre City in a supportive and creative environment. Some of the butchers who I’ve learnt from have really inspired me and a real passion for the trade was gained from them,” says James.
The same applies to Ben who, working alongside James, agrees the creativity of the role is one of the things he loves most about butchery.
“I’d consider myself a practical, hands-on person plus I have a real love for food. So for me butchery ticks all the boxes,” says Ben.
Both James and Ben now go on to compete against finalists from four other regional finals around the country, for the esteemed titles and the prize of an international butchery study tour.
The competition is supported by Alto Packaging, Competenz, Alliance Group, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Cabernet Foods, Dunninghams, Hellers, Kerry Ingredients, New Zealand Pork, Wilson Hellaby and Tegel.