A Perth-based father and son team are set to represent Scotland at the Four Nations Butchers tournament in Ireland this weekend (28 January). The highly competitive battle will see the pair prepare, craft and present a range of 40-50 products and create a retail display with the ‘wow factor’ – all within an hour.
Richard Megahy and his son Ben, who both work for Simon Howie, The Scottish Butcher, in Perth, will compete against leading butchers from Northern Ireland, England and Ireland at the Irish Craft Butcher Expo held at The Curragh Racecourse near Dublin. Richard has been a butcher with Simon Howie for 27 years while Ben, who is 21, has been working for the business for almost two years and is currently completing his SVQ.
The pair have competitive form, having won contests in the last year, and have been in training specifically for the event for at least two months, said Gordon Newlands, who manages the Scotch Butchers Club for Quality Meat Scotland.
“The Scotch Butchers Club and Browns Food Group, who produce much of Scotland’s Specially Selected Pork, are the main sponsors of this trip. Along with Barry Robertson from Browns Food Group, I’m delighted to support Richard and Ben. They will be competing against fantastic teams from the other three nations, but they have been practicing against the clock with the products they will be preparing on the day – once that start bell goes, it’s game on!
“Products they have to work with and prepare include a loin of pork, half a lamb, two chickens and a shoulder of pork. It is a very technical contest – besides the preparation and presentation, each team has to have a theme, with marketing collateral to support their display. I’m supremely confident that both butchers have the skills and confidence to do a brilliant job,” said Mr Newlands.
Team Scotland will have plenty of support, as Mr Newlands is leading a deputation of 14 Scotch Butchers Club members on the visit to Ireland. Besides attending the expo, they will tour the country’s top butchers’ shops as part of a knowledge exchange opportunity.
“Like the Scots, the Irish have a strong ethos of supporting local. These high street butchers, in Dublin and beyond, are inspiring businesses with innovative approaches.
We will also meet Pat Whelan, Ireland’s most celebrated butcher who really became a world leader in terms of product innovation, design and packaging.
“The trip will mean we return with plenty of ideas and inspiration for making even more of Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork – as well as the crucial task of supporting Richard and Ben competing as Team Scotland in the tournament,” he added.