2019 Alto Butcher of the Year Greg Egerton with his winning display.

Entries have opened for the Alto Young Butcher, ANZCO Foods Butcher Apprentice and Pure South Master Butcher of the Year Competitions.

The event is a firm favourite on the industry calendar, and is welcomed back a little later this year due to recent events.  The competition tests the skills of qualified butchers and butcher apprentices from all around New Zealand when they sharpen their knives and race head to head against the clock, in the meatiest battle of their careers.

The competition commences with regional heats taking place in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. Contestants put their boning, trimming, slicing and dicing skills to the test as they prepare and display a size 20 chicken, a whole pork leg, and a beef short loin, with the top scoring Alto Young Butcher – and ANZCO Foods Butcher Apprentice from each regional, progressing to the Grand Final. Additionally, a wild card entry will be selected from the top scoring Alto Young Butchers and ANZCO Foods Butcher Apprentices, nationally, based on their regional scores to produce twelve finalists in total – six in each category.

The Grand Final, held in Auckland on Thursday 29 October, culminates in a spectacular cutting test featuring the twelve regional finalists, followed by a glitzy black-tie Awards dinner. 

Also, in a competition first, the Pure South Master Butcher of the Year competition has been added to the line-up where six of New Zealand’s most skilled butchers will battle it out in a cutting test, to take out this new crown.

The competition highlights the work these skilled men and women do daily to prepare the meat that graces our plates. The competition is also a potential stepping stone to a place in our national butchery team the Hellers Sharp Blacks, who compete biennially in the World Butchers’ Challenge – the Olympics of butchery.

Head Judge Peter Martin, a Central Otago Butchery Manager, is a strong advocate of butchery competitions.

“I believe the gains are huge for every entrant from the process of entering which includes the planning, practicing and coming up with creative ideas, right through to competing against your peers,” he says.

Peter is passionate about the skills required, to have an enjoyable, and successful working life in this industry and he can’t wait to see the skills and enthusiasm brought by contestants to this year’s competition.

“I am particularly excited this year as we have introduced a mentoring programme for the Alto Young Butcher and ANZCO Foods Butcher Apprentice entrants to help guide and support them through the competition.

“To have someone who can give the entrants a bit of structure around the competition plus feedback along the way will give everyone a better chance at doing the best they can,” he says.

Alongside industry and peer recognition, the winning Alto Young Butcher and ANZCO Foods Butcher Apprentice receive a coveted trophy and an international study tour.  The Pure South Master Butcher of the Year will receive a trophy and a $3,500 cash prize.

The competition is proudly sponsored by Alto Packaging, ANZCO Foods, Pure South, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Competenz, Dunninghams, Hellers, Tegel and Wilson Hellaby.

Entry forms are available here and entries to all competitions close on Friday 24 July 2020. 


Lower South Island

14 August 2020

New World Centre City, 133 Great King Street, Dunedin

Upper South Island

15 August 2020

Ara Institute of Canterbury, School of Food and Hospitality, Cnr Ferry Rd & Madras St, Christchurch

Lower North Island

21 August 2020

WelTec School of Hospitality, 52 Cuba Street, Wellington

Waikato/Central North Island

27 August 2020

Pak’n Save, Mill Street, Hamilton

Upper North Island

29 & 30 August 2020

Countdown Meat & Seafood, Portage Road, Otahuhu, Auckland

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