Havelock North local, Justin Hinchco from New World Havelock North took out the Alto Young Butcher category and Vernon Atutahi from New World Marton finished first place in the Competenz Butcher Apprentice category.
The regional saw entrants compete in an intense cutting test where they had two hours to turn a beef rump, pork loin and a size 20 chicken into a display of value-added cuts. The 11 entrants were also asked to participate in an interview and sit a written exam to test their communication skills and knowledge of the trade.
Alto Young Butcher regional winner, Justin says he is ecstatic to finally make it through to the next stage of the competition after entering in previous years. “I don’t like to be beaten at anything. I’ve been the bridesmaid for the last two years but it’s nice to finally win one,” he said.
Vernon, who took out the Competenz Butcher Apprentice category, says he is looking forward to moving onto the next stage of the competition to gain more experience. “At first butchery was just a job, but within a few months it easily became a passion. I’m always hungry to learn more and being involved in this competition gives me the opportunity to further my knowledge,” says Vernon.
Justin and Vernon have more work ahead of them in preparation for the Grand Final on 10 September at Shed 10 in Auckland, where they will be vying for the prize of an international butchery study tour.
The competition is supported by Alto Packaging, Competenz, Alliance Group, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Cabernet Foods, Dunninghams, Hellers, Kerry Ingredients, New Zealand Pork, Wilson Hellaby and Tegel.