Dylan Gillespie has won the Northern Irish heat of the Worldskills butchery competition.
No stranger to the competition, the young butcher from Clogher Valley Meats in Co Tyrone is hoping to do one better than last year when he made it to the grand final and finished in second place.
James Gracey, from Quails of Dromore in Co Down finished in second place in the heat, and Martin Naan of Irvine’s Family Butchers in Co Fermanagh placed third. Both butchers joined Gillespie in the final last year, where Gracey was highly commended. However, their place in the heat does not mean that they will automatically make it through to the finals at the Skills Show. That privilege goes to the six highest scoring butchers across all four national heats.
The butchers were tasked with seaming a topside of beef into individual muscles in 45 minutes, followed by a barbecue challenge that required them to create a visually pleasing display out of one whole chicken, a topside of beef, shoulder or lamb and boneless loin of pork in an 1 hour 30 minutes.
“We would like to say a huge thank you to our lovely hosts for this heat at Southern Regional College,” said Katy Godsell, marketing manager at training provider Cambrian Training Company, which organises the event. “Judges said it was a very close contest with great skills on show.”
The finals will take place later in the year at Birmingham’s NEC. Last year’s winner, Peter Rushforth of Swans Farm Shop in Mold, Wales, has gone on to represent the Welsh meat industry at an international level.
Meat Trades Journal is the exclusive media partner of the competition, with sponsors including the National Federation of Meat and Food Traders; the Institute of Meat; the Food & Drink Training and Education Council; Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales and industry consultant Viv Harvey.