As the 2018 World Butchers’ Challenge approaches we continue our look at the teams, today focusing on Australia. The Aussie Steelers were formed in 2011 when the precursor to the WBC, the Trans-Tasman Test Match between Australia and New Zealand was first held. The Aussie Steelers won the first competition, triumphing again in the second a year later. By 2013 the UK was playing a part in the newly formed Tri-Nation’s Butchers’ Challenge but New Zealand took the crown from Australia. Now, seven years after the inception of the competition the Aussie Steelers are looking to reclaim their title.
Team Captain Adam Stratton has been involved with the competition since the very beginning but this is his first year leading the team. He works at Tender Gourmet Butcher Stores in Hornsby, New South Wales, one of Australia’s most awarded butcheries, and is responsible for the lamb, chocolate and coconut sausage (dubbed the ‘Lamb’-ington) made to celebrate Australia Day. With many years of competition experience, and no shortage of successes thus far he’s the man to take Australia all the way.
Returning from the 2016 team are Tom Bouchier of Peter Bouchier in Victoria, Colin Garrett of Colin’s Butchery in Sydney, New South Wales, Paul Brady of Tender Gourmet Butchery, Macquarie, New South Wales and Nick Dagg of Gourmet Market Meats in Cairns, Queensland.
Tom works in the family business as the retail manager. He went straight on to an apprenticeship scheme after leaving school although he had been working at the shop all the way through his education. Colin started his butchery career in catering, before experiencing the retail side of the industry and opening his own shop, which netted him Small Employer of the Year in the region. Paul is returning for the third year and has a 25 year history in the industry, having started out in Ireland at his family’s shop. Nick’s main passion is innovation and this is where he will bring real value to the team. He started out as an apprentice but was managing 5 butchers by his second year in the trade, so he’s a natural talent and one for the other teams to be wary of. He now runs his own shop in Queensland.
Appearing for the first time are Luke Leyson of Goodwood Quality Meats in Adelaide, South Australia and reserve Gareth Hunt from Fat Cow Gourmet Meats in Brisbane, Queensland. Luke started at 13, cleaning up in a butchers shop before starting an apprenticeship aged 16. By 19, in his third year of training, Luke was managing several shops owned by the same chain. He came first in the Australian Pork Innovation Challenge and second overall, as well as placing fourth in the Melbourne Butcher Wars. His competition experience and relative youth make him a strong member of the team. Gareth hails from New Zealand originally, even winning Apprentice of the Year and Under 20 Butcher of the Year in NZ, but since moving to Australia has learned even more and now represents his adopted country. Hopefully that fact won’t be an issue for the Pure South Sharp Blacks when they face each other in March.
Further information about the team members and their workplaces can be found on the links below:
Adam Stratton http://www.tendervalue.com.au/
Colin Garrett http://www.colinsbutchery.com.au/#/home
Luke Leyson http://www.goodwoodqualitymeats.com/
Gareth Hunt https://www.facebook.com/fatcowgourmetmeats/