Portadown butcher crowned ‘Champion of Champions’

Dave Lang, Butchery Consultant; Emma Mullen, Chef at M & W Meats; Clayton Moore, Owner of M & W Meats; Paul Moody, Area Sales Manager at CF Gaynor Ltd; Sean Owens, Chef and Managing Director of Montgomery Food Consulting; Rhonda Montgomery, CEO and Founder of the Butchery Excellence Scheme and Pamela Ballantine, TV personality.

Dave Lang, Butchery Consultant; Emma Mullen, Chef at M & W Meats; Clayton Moore, Owner of M & W Meats; Paul Moody, Area Sales Manager at CF Gaynor Ltd; Sean Owens, Chef and Managing Director of Montgomery Food Consulting; Rhonda Montgomery, CEO and Founder of the Butchery Excellence Scheme and Pamela Ballantine, TV personality.

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A Portadown butcher has taken the title of Best Butcher in Northern Ireland after beating off stiff competition from across Ulster in the prestigious Butchery Excellence Scheme’s ‘Champion of Champions’ Butchery Skills Challenge 2015.

Clayton Moore, from M&W Meats in Portadown, Co. Armagh proved himself a cut above the rest by taking the title of Butcher of the Year 2015 at the inaugural Butchery Excellence Scheme Awards.

Hosted by TV Presenter Pamela Ballantine, the awards took place at the Armagh City Hotel last Saturday (28th November), Clayton’s store – M&W Meats - based in Scotch Street, Moy Road, Portadown was also named as Butcher Shop of the Year (8-11 employees).

The Butchery Excellence Scheme’s Champion of Champions is Northern Ireland’s most prestigious butchery competition. It leads the way in celebrating and acknowledging traditional butchery skills, whilst rewarding innovative and new techniques that are required to excel in a modern Butchery environment.

Run by the Butchery Excellence Scheme, the three-hour cookery challenge took place at the Food Innovation and Butchery Skills Centre in Aughnacloy, and many of Northern Ireland’s top butchers went head to head in the three-hour cook off.

Clayton displaying his skills during the three-hour cookery challenge, which was judged by a team of butchery and culinary experts, including top chef and Managing Director of Montgomery Food Consulting, Sean Owens and butchery consultant, Dave Lang.

“The level of skills required to win this competition are set so high but Clayton mastered the brief with passion, professionalism and enthusiasm. Throughout the live cooking session, Clayton’s communication was impeccable, and the depth of flavour he achieved through his dishes was quite exceptional,” comments Chief Judge, Sean Owens.

Sean continues: “The competition is designed to challenge the butchers through all aspects of professional practice and the level of cooking from all of the finalists was outstanding. Each of the finalists brought along their own produce, and Clayton’s win really was due to a combination of excellence produce from M&W Meats and the skills which Clayton demonstrated on the cook off.”

Commenting on his win, Clayton Moore, owner of M&W meats said: “This is one of the most prized awards in our industry as it’s a real, live awards, which are held in the highest esteem. To be named as the Butchery Excellence Scheme’s Champion of Champion is a huge vote of confidence in both the products that we stock at M&W Meats and in my own knowledge.

“To win a second award on the night was the icing on the cake. Butcher Shop of the Year Northern Ireland is a testament to my team and it’s a great acknowledgement of the superior standards that we aim to deliver to our customers every day.”

M & W Farm Meats has grown from strength to strength since first opening its doors for business in 2006 and has expanded into Costcutter, Moygashel.

No stranger to lifting awards, Clayton was named Ulster BBQ champion earlier this year and he has also contributed at many industry events, including the Big Grill Pitmasters Competition in Dublin.

In its first year, the BES Annual Awards, organised by butchery members’ association, the Butchery Excellence Scheme (BES), recognises the very best standards in the butchery retail market. They celebrate the highest levels of service, product knowledge, initiative, innovation and community involvement.

Rhonda Montgomery, CEO and Founder of the Butchery Excellence Scheme adds: “Champion of Champions is the culmination of a very successful competition schedule, that the Butchery Excellence Scheme created and managed over the past 12 months. It recognises the excellent and talented butchers that we have in Ulster, and it’s also a national showcase of Northern Irish meat, which is now on a par with the best in the world.”

The Butchery Excellence Scheme, based in Aughnacloy, was developed to help butchers across the country keep on top of changes to legislation, food safety, food labelling, new product development, personal development, training and marketing. The scheme now has 110 butchers across Ulster registered.