Team Ireland butchers are a cut above the rest of world

Pamela Ballantine, Event MC; WBC Co-ordinator, Sean Owens; Garret Landers, Team Ireland Captain; Rhonda Montgomery, WBC Country Co-Ordinator and CEO of Butchery Excellence International; and Denis McMahon, Permanent Secretary at Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs. (l-r, back row) Ian McKernaghan, Vice-Captain; Mark Williams; Liam Walsh, WBC mentor; Eamon Etherson; Colly Donnelly; Stephen Cooke and Stephen Millar.
Pamela Ballantine, Event MC; WBC Co-ordinator, Sean Owens; Garret Landers, Team Ireland Captain; Rhonda Montgomery, WBC Country Co-Ordinator and CEO of Butchery Excellence International; and Denis McMahon, Permanent Secretary at Department of Agriculture Environment and Rural Affairs. (l-r, back row) Ian McKernaghan, Vice-Captain; Mark Williams; Liam Walsh, WBC mentor; Eamon Etherson; Colly Donnelly; Stephen Cooke and Stephen Millar.

In a contest to see who would be crowned as the world’s top butchers, Team Ireland, with butchers from Northern Ireland and Ireland competing, have been named the best in the world at the 2018 World Butchers’ Challenge.

Following an outstanding display of butchery skills and creativity, the home nation, Team Ireland, was announced at a Gala event in Titanic Belfast on Wednesday, March 21.

Team Ireland competed in a visually impressive cutting showdown against teams from eleven other nations: Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, France, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa and USA.

Narrowly defeated were runners-up Pure South Sharp Blacks from New Zealand followed by the Australian Steelers from Australia.

Each team of six had just three hours and fifteen minutes to turn a side of beef, a side of pork, a whole lamb and five chickens into a themed display of value-added cuts, similar to what you would expect in a traditional butcher shop or supermarket but with plenty of innovation and skill at the heart of the displays.

Team Captain Garrett Landers, from Garrett’s Butchers in Limerick, said the win will add to Ireland and Northern Ireland’s reputation for the quality of its meat and craftsmanship, delivering additional promotion for the entire island of Ireland on the global stage.

Vice-Captain Ian McKernaghan, from Lisdergan Meats in Fintona, added: “What an incredible achievement to be named as the Best Butchery team in the world. The team and I are so honoured to have represented Ireland and Northern Ireland in this international event, and we’re hoping that this accolade will help to spread the word of the world-class quality of Irish and Northern Irish produce across the globe.”

Prior to the main event, the World Champion Young Butcher and Apprentice competition was also held with Thomas Guyomar from France taking out the title of World Champion Young Butcher and Samantha Weller from New Zealand announced as the World Champion Butcher Apprentice.

Six butchers from all of the teams were named as the World Team. These are Eamon Etherson from Ireland (Portrush), Angel Naidener from Bulgaria, Adam Stratton from Australia, Corey Winder from New Zealand, Francesca Camassa, Italy and Phillipe Lalanda from France.

The World Butchers’ Challenge aims to showcase skill and innovation in the butchery trade and as such a number of other accolades were awarded:

The World Butchers’ Challenge took place at Meat@IFEX, the sister show to IFEX – Northern Ireland’s premier event for the food, drink, retail and hospitality industries. Taking place from 20th – 22nd March 2018 at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, IFEX has been attended by thousands of visitors, with the event returning to Belfast in 2020.