The new Welsh Butcher of the Year is 18-year-old Adam Jones who says becoming a butcher was the best decision of his life.

Adam, who lives in Penyffordd and works for Swans Farm Shop, Treuddyn, near Mold, proved he was a cut above the rest in the contest final on the first day of the Welsh International Culinary Championships (WICC) at Grŵp Llandrillo Menai’s Rhos-on-Sea campus yesterday (Tuesday)

“I’m in shock,” he said. “I left school with the minimum qualifications and now I am one of the best in Wales at my trade. I didn’t know what I was going to do when I left school and butchery was my last chance to make something of my life.

“Three of my siblings have gone to university, but I chose butchery and it was the best decision of my life.”

Runner up in the final was Cori Mears of Douglas Willis, Cwmbran and Marinov Elenko of 2 Sisters Food Group, Sandycroft, was third.

Sponsored by the Culinary Association of Wales (CAW) and Cambrian Training Company, the contest is open to Welsh butchers over the age of 16 who are employed or studying for a qualification in a college or establishment anywhere in the world.

The finalists were set two tasks to showcase their skills to judges from the Craft Butchery Team Wales, who finished sixth on debut at the World Butchers’ Challenge in the USA last year.

They had 55 minutes to seam a leg and chump of pork into individual muscles and another hour to turn the meat into a visually exciting display of products that celebrates a special occasion of their own choice.Bottom of Form

Arwyn Watkins, OBE, Culinary Association of Wales president, said the competition had been relaunched to hopefully find butchers to join the Craft Butchery Team Wales squad.

“It’s really great to see this competition back and a perfect catalyst for launching someone’s career and I am sure that it has achieved that today,” he said. “With the competition judged by members of our Craft Butchery Team Wales, it helps us in the process of securing the next generation of team members.”

Judges were Craft Butchery Team Wales manager Steve Vaughan, captain Peter Rushforth and members Dan Allen-Raftery and Ben Roberts.

Apart from the kudos of being named Wales’ best butcher, Adam won £100, while Cori received £60 and Marinov received £40.

Organised by the CAW, the WICC’s main sponsor is Food and Drink Wales, the Welsh Government’s department representing the food and drink industry. Other sponsors include Castel Howell, Churchill, Major International, Riso Gallo, Dick Knives, MCS Tech Products, Hybu Cig Cymru/ Meat Promotion Wales, Cambrian Training Company and Grŵp Llandrillo Menai.

Picture caption:

Adam Jones with his winning meat display.

Adam Jones receives the Welsh Butcher of the Year prizes from Arwyn Watkins, OBE, Culinary Association of Wales president.

Welsh Butcher of the Year Adam Jones with fellow finalists Cori Mears and Marinov Elenko, Culinary Association of Wales president Arwyn Watkins, OBE, and the judges Steve Vaughan, Peter Rushforth, Dan Allen-Raftery and Ben Roberts from the Craft Butchery Team Wales.

Adam Jones seaming a leg and chump of pork in the final.