Conor Reynolds of M&W Farm Meats Portadown, Northern Ireland is the UK’s best young butcher beating six other elite apprentice butchers on the eve of his nineteenth birthday at the final of the Premier Young Butcher Competition organised by the National Federation of Meat and Food Traders (NFMFT) and hosted by William Reed Business Media at Foodex, Birmingham NEC on Monday (16th) this week.
In just under six hours of intensive competition entirely filmed by Flicker Productions for a BBC 1 six-part documentary to be screened later this year. Conor proved superior in the six-category competition taking second place in Seam Butchery and a string of firsts in Ready to Eat, Stuffed Roast, Barbecue, Kitchen Ready and Display.
Speaking after the presentations the Southern Regional College Level Three FDQ Food Industry Skills apprentice with FDQ Level Two Professional Butchery and CIEH Level Two Food Safety said, “winning is fantastic and amazing” and was grateful for the support and help given by college tutor Micheal Prunty and boss Clayton Moore at M&W Farm Meats.
In a competition with a clear winner and second place too difficult to call 19 -year-old Leeds City College Level Two Butchery apprentice Daniel Binns with a Level Three in Agriculture working for J Brindon Addy in Holmfirth West Yorkshire took the Runner Up position. Getting second place for Barbecue and coming third in each of the Ready to Eat, Stuffed Roast, Seam Butchery, Kitchen Ready and Display categories.
21-year-old MEAT Ipswich Level Three apprentice with Level Two’s in HACCP and Meat and Poultry Asa Blackburn of Lakings Butchers in Louth, Lincolnshire finished the competition in third place taking second’s in both the Ready to Eat and Kitchen Ready categories. While Level Two Butchery Trailblazer with Crosby Training 19-year-old Daniel Symes working for ‘Chef’s Butcher’ Aubrey Allen in Leamington Spa, Warwickshire winning Seam Butchery and second place in the Stuffed Roast category finished fourth. David Jackson from Denstone Farm Shop near Uttoxeter, Staffordshire ended the competition in fifth place taking a second in the Display category.
Also turning in creditable performances in the high standard fiercely fought competition was 20-year-old MEAT IPSWICH Level Two Meat and Poultry apprentice Jack Eagles from C Lidgate in Holland Park London and 18-year-old Level Two Intrinsic Training Level Two Meat and Poultry Skills apprentice Lennon Callister a first-time competition entrant working at Owen Taylor’s in Alfreton Derbyshire.
Recognised as the most demanding skills competition open to UK 18-23-year-old butchery apprentices where competitors are assessed for craft skill, innovation and sound working practices by industry expert’s International butchery judge and CEO of the Institute of Meat Keith Fisher, UK National Team Coach and industry consultant Viv Harvey and Senior Assessor and Business Manager at Cambrian Training Chris Jones.
Speaking at the presentations, South London butcher and NFMFT Immediate Past President Jim Sperring said “It’s great to see so much talent demonstrated by young people. They are a credit to themselves and the trade and I’m sure they all have great futures ahead of them”!
Presenting the finalists with certificates, medals and trophies were sponsors led by the Master of the Worshipful Company of Butchers Geoff Gillo, Chairman of the Institute of Meat Bill Jermey and Arwyn Jones of Cambrian Training. Other sponsors unable to be represented but accredited were Dalziel, Quality Meat Scotland, RAPS UK and Weddel Swift.