SA Team Prepares for World Butchers Challenge


The winning team in the recent National Butchers Challenge are busy preparing to represent South Africa at the World Butchers Challenge in Ireland from 20 – 22 March 2018.



The winning team in the recent National Butchers Challenge are busy preparing to represent South Africa at the World Butchers Challenge in Ireland from 20 – 22 March 2018.

At the recent National Butchers Challenge, held during the Fire & Feast Butchers’ Festival, Team 6 Pack were announced as the winners – the best 6 butchers to represent Team SA at the World Butchers Challenge.

With representatives from Old Town uMhlanga, Spar, Makro and Checkers, Team 6 Pack consisted of Andre van der Merwe, Johan Pretorius, Pedro Gonsalves Sequeira, Sebastian Munyewende, Leo Roland Delaney and Werner Viljoen.

The competition was sponsored by Crown National, who provided all equipment for the challenges – bandsaws, mincers, sausage fillers, casings, etc – as well as the Crown National Spice & Marinade Pantry which the butchers used in their preparation. The meat was sponsored by Pork SA and Lamb & Mutton SA.

At the World Butchers’ Challenge 2018, the South African team will compete with more than ten global teams from Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, England, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand. The competition will see the best Artisan Butchers and Apprentices fight for the titles of Best Butchers in the World.

The World Butchers’ Challenge (WBC) was created as a platform where butchers from across the world can compete and showcase the butchery skills and creative uses of the beef, lamb and pork products from their respective countries. The current World Champions France will be a hard act to follow and the competition will be a great celebration of World Butchery Skills.

Butchery Excellence Ireland recently won the bid to host the World Butchers’ Challenge in 2018 has been accepted. This is the first-time in the competition’s history that the event has travelled to Ireland, with Belfast announced as the host city. The event has previously taken place in New Zealand, Australia and Great Britain.

The World Butchers’ Challenge will be taking place at IFEX 2018 at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast with a Gala awards event planned for Titanic Belfast, and the event is expected to attract 250 butchers from around the globe with a delegation of up to 1,000 extra visitors.

Butchery Excellence Ireland, based in Aughnacloy County Tyrone, was developed to help butchers across the country keep on top of changes to legislation, food safety, food labelling, new product development, personal development, training and marketing.

The concept of the World Butchers’ Challenge is to develop an environment where butchers strive to exceed current industry practice in the areas of general workmanship, meat cutting, displaying and the creative usage of beef, lamb and pork product.

The competition itself is conducted over three hours and fifteen minutes with teams given a beef side, a side of pork, a full lamb carcass and five chickens as the base ingredients. Teams are allowed to provide their own seasonings, spices marinades and garnish to finish product that are designed for a modern retail outlet. Teams also provide their own props by way of plates, bowls, signage etc.

Independent judges, one from each country, will judge and score the team based on butchery skill, workmanship, product innovation, overall finish, presentation and/or display.

In 2011, a butchery competition between New Zealand and Australia, named the Trans-Tasman Test Match, was established. Both countries nominated a team of their six best butchers, the Pure South Sharp Blacks and the Australian Steelers, and each were given three hours to break down a side of beef and a lamb into a themed display of value-added cuts.

The inaugural competition was held in New Zealand, with the Australian team taking home the first title. The following year, the competition moved to Melbourne, Australia, with the host country once again taking home the title of the best butchers in Australasia.

In 2013, a team of six from the United Kingdom made the long journey across the globe to Wanaka, New Zealand, to compete in the newly-titled Tri-Nation’s Butchers’ Challenge. It was this year which marked the beginning of a winning streak for the Pure South Sharp Blacks, as they were presented with their first trophy on home soil. 2014 saw New Zealand and Australia travel to Yorkshire, England, where they were enthusiastically welcomed by the British Beefeaters who were competing for their second time.

The following year, the competition made its way back to New Zealand and was held in Auckland. A side of pork was also added to the list of cuts the teams were to break down. This competition, which was held in association with other industry events, was the biggest retail meat event to ever be held in New Zealand, and the Pure South Sharp Blacks lifted the trophy for their third consecutive time.

Newcomers, France, stepped up to the plate in the 2016 competition, held in the Gold Coast, Australia where it was renamed once more to the World Butchers’ Challenge. France, in their first year competing, took out the prestigious title with their innovative products and style.

Team 6 Pack will proudly represent South Africa in Ireland in 2018. Caroline McCann is the team leader and can be contacted on

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