Hamilton serves up the Best Young Butcher in the World
Alana Empson a young 27-year old butcher from PAK’nSAVE Clarence Street, won International Young Butcher of the Year, at the World Butchers Challenge on the Gold Coast on Saturday 10 September. Alana was up against young butchers from New Zealand, Australia, France and Great Britain.
Alana started in the butchery trade when she was only 18 and has been perfecting her craft over the last nine years with the fantastic outcome that she is now a multiple award winning butcher. Having won both New Zealand Young Butcher of the Year and International Best Practical Young Butcher awards last September, she is certainly getting a name in the industry as one to watch.
Tony Rider, owner-operator of PAK’nSAVE Clarence Street says, “We’re really proud of Alana, she has consistently impressed by her true passion and dedication as a butcher. I’m thrilled to have her as part of the team and to have butchers on site that are able to bring fresh specialised cuts to our customers. In August PAK’nSAVE Clarence Street won the Foodstuffs North Island Butchery Department of the year, they were judged on presentation, service, standards and feedback which reflects the high level of butchery talent within the store.
Prior to this year’s competition the candidates got the opportunity to go on a 6 day study tour around Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, meeting both international and local butchers. Alana was inspired with new ideas, and learnt some neat tips and tricks to bring home to her PAK’nSAVE customers.
Alana was up against butchers from all over the globe, which gave her an incredible opportunity to be able to showcase her skills on a world stage – this added an extra challenge compared to other competitions she has competed in.
The contestants had just three hours to transform a lamb leg, beef rump on the bone and pork loin into gourmet cuts with added value suitable for commercial sale.
Alana invested a lot of time and dedication to ensure she was on top of her game, she had to demonstrate her knife and butchery skills, workmanship, innovation, finish and display – all of which required practice in the lead up to the competition.
The competition was judged by a panel of expert international industry judges.
Alana’s style is focused on traditional, classic kiwi dishes, she loves preparing cuts that can feed a large family and is overwhelmed by the support of Tony and her colleagues.
“I am excited to be able to bring new innovation ideas to our shoppers. I feel privileged to be able to educate customers on the different cuts they can choose for their families and I really enjoy making recommendations for what people have for dinner” says Alana.
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