Report by National Craft Butchers
Team UK’s James Gracey returned yesterday having out performed other elite European young butchers from Austria, France, Germany, Holland and Switzerland, finishing in the top three in the Roast’s category of the finals of the International Young Butcher Competition last weekend at the IFFA exhibition in Frankfurt, Germany.
James from M A Quail in Dromore Northern Ireland was repeatedly praised by Judges for high standards of workmanship throughout the competition with accolades for his ‘County Down sweet Mincemeat Pie’ in the Ready to Eat, his Barbecue selection and ‘Craigavon Roast’ in the Main Course category. Finishing third with his ‘Dromore and Quail Mini Roasts’ James added to the UK’s continuing success outperforming ‘Europe’s Elite’ joining previous UK high performers Luke Haigh of Bolster Moor Farm Shop in 2012, Andrew Brassington from Ludlow Food Centre in 2013 and Lucy Crawshaw of Taylors Farm Shop in 2016 also finishing in the top three in the Ready to Eat, Stuffed Roast and ‘Surprise’ categories.
Team Manager and National Craft Butchers (NCB) Chief Executive Roger Kelsey said, “the competition with changes in Seam Butchery and tighter rules and constraints in use of materials this year has been the toughest to date. Both Lennon and James raised their game exceeding all expectations against the best that Europe has and has ever offered in the ten years that we‘ve been involved in the competition”!
Twenty-three-year old James and nineteen-year-old Lennon Callister from Owen Taylor in Alfreton, Derbyshire underwent months of preparation under instruction from UK Team Coach Viv Harvey and international CIBC UK jury member Keith Fisher to compete in one of the closest competitions in years.
Twelve finalists spent two days under pressure demonstrating skills for innovation, precision and methodology across six categories with strict time constraints in front of an international jury of expert judges. As well as thousands of visitors from across the Globe on two of the busiest days of the exhibition with one of the French candidates finishing second overall and the two Dutch candidates getting first and third winning the Team Trophy.
As members of the International Butchers Confederation (CIBC) NCB organised sponsorship and training for a UK Team to compete in the 2019 competition hosted by the Deutscher Fleischer-Verband. Team UK 2019 was sponsored by Dalebrook, Dalziel, Institute of Meat (IoM), RAPS UK, Southern Regional College and the Worshipful Company of Butchers.