During the Butchery Excellence ‘Meat’ the Buyer Expo 2017, Team Ireland released their new team uniform ahead of the World Butchers Challenge 2018. The event being held in Belfast will see the host team participate against 12 different countries across the globe.
Following rigorous training sessions over the past few months, Team Ireland have been able to strengthen and adapt their skill set for the upcoming World Butchers’ Challenge coming up on the 22nd March 2018. The Squad representing Team Ireland at WBC is as follows;
Garrett LandersTeam Captain
Garrett Landers has been in the industry for 30 years having first commenced his journey as an apprentice butcher with a local butcher store in his native town of Newcastle West, Co. Limerick. He travelled the world extensively and worked in the UK, United States and Australia, giving him a crucial insight into the industry. During this time, he was able to seek out Kosher, Halal, modern and traditional butcher stores to work in. Having been armed with the knowledge from many world cultures he was then able to put his effort and knowledge into opening his first butcher store in Limerick in 2004. In 2007, Garrett and his wife, Fiona opened a second butcher store in Limerick. Their two butcher stores are renowned for quality of products, customer service and innovation.
Ian McKernaghanTeam Vice Captain
Ian has been working in the business of beef since I was 12 years old. He first began his career in a local butcher shop learning the ropes of butchery in the retail sector. After 7 years in the local butchers, Ian moved to the demanding role of a ‘Speed-boner’ on the processing line at Granville Meats in Dungannon. Ian’s lifelong passion has always been to have his own business and this ambition was finally fulfilled when he successfully launched Lisdergan Meats at his hometown of Fintona in 2015. He hopes that with his skills and experience he can step up to the plate and help Team Ireland in the journey to be World Butcher Challenge Champions 2018.
Stephen CookeGarretts Butchers
Stephen Cooke is an engineer turned butcher. He began working part time while studying in college 12 years ago. Once he completed his degree he began working full time with his team Captain Garrett Landers. Together the have worked hard to perfect and innovate their craft. Always studying and training to be the best they can be. A passion for meat and an eye for detail has made Stephen an ideal member for team Ireland ahead of the WBC.
Colly DonnellyJ.MacMahon's Butchers, Cookstown
Colly has lived in Cookstown his whole life, born 46 years ago. He has grown up, attended school, socialized and happily settled in Cookstown with family and friends. Colly loves his job and got the taste for it many years ago working part time after school in the very butchers he now runs. He has a strong butchery skill set and has won many awards in both practical butchery and value added product display. At MacMahons they pride themselves in the quality and consistency of the products in their counter display, they work diligently on this each and every day to bring the very best in Irish meat and meat products to our loyal customer base.
Eamon EthersonEtherson's Family Butchers, Portrush
Being a butcher has always been an Eamon’s ambition from an early age. One of the most memorable moments of his life was when he took over his Fathers shop almost 11 years ago, however his Father is still in the shop almost every day just to keep him right, he says. Eamon is extremely happy to be a part of Team Ireland to showcase his skills in a very competitive competition and he is very confident that we can take the title on home soil. Throughout his life he has always enjoyed challenging himself and has been thoroughly involved in lots of sports. He kicked off his sporting spark when he started martial arts from 7 years old, through school he started to get involved in Soccer, Rugby and Gaelic, for which hewent on to play for Eoghan Rua GAC minors.
Stephen MillarMillar Meats, Irvinestown
Stephen is a traditional style butcher from Co. Fermanagh with a huge emphasis on product innovation and a real passion for providing the customer with the best local product possible. His family are thoroughly involved in the business and they help each other out as best they can. The meat sold at Stephen’s shop can be sourced directly back to his family’s livestock which gives a profound sense of satisfaction knowing that the supply chain is short and 100% reliable. Stephen looks forward to participating in the World Butchers’ Challenge representing Team Ireland and hope they can bring the title to Ireland for the first time.
Mark WilliamsTeam Squad Reserve
Mark is currently a fourth-generation butcher having grown up working in his fathers’ shop learning the skills of a butcher. It was during this time that Mark learnt about boning, cutting, displaying, slaughtering and serving customers, all of which will helps him when it comes to the World Butchers’ Challenge. For a number of years, he worked diligently to focus on polishing his butchery skill set, wanting to delve deeper into the world of butchery, he moved to Cork City to study for the British Institute of Meats final exam, During this time he gained more valuable experience working with other butchers and learning new tips and techniques. In particularly Mark spent some time working on the boning line at a meat plant in Nenagh, Co Tipperary, the experience he learnt from this has helped him practise for the World Butchers Challenge already.
Team Ireland Apprentices
Bryan McNameeMulkern's Butchery, Newry
Bryan was brought up in a Butchery Family. His family owned a Butchers Shop in Crossmaglen and is where he spend most of his years growing up as a child. Bryan developed further into his Butchery career by being trained at McArdle Meats in Dundalk as an apprentice Butcher at the age of 16. McArdle Meats helped Bryan to develop his skill set before he ventured to running a busy supermarket butchers; Mulkern's Eurospar. Bryan is a proud father of 3 children who keep him occupied when he's not plying his trade in Mulkerns. Being part of Team Ireland has always been a goal of Bryan's and hopes to perform well on the day and make a positive impact on the team.
Robbie FarrellDowlings Butchers, Rathmines
Robbie started butchering after he was offered the chance to work on the counter at his local supermarket. Robbie then got the opportunity to move to Dowlings Butchers Rathmines, in 2015 this kick-started his Butchery career with a focused work ethic. He is delighted to have been selected as a junior competitor for the Team Ireland Squad at the World Butchers’ Challenge and Is looking forward to learning from not only some of the greatest butchers around the world but also from some of the best butchers in Ireland who will be standing beside him at the World Butchers’ Challenge representing Team Ireland.
Team Ireland – Young Butcher of the Year
Mark O'ConnorDownlings Butchers, Rathmines
Mark’s butcher’s journey began when he started work at the age of 13. Opportunity knocked when he was given the opportunity of being involved with his dad’s butcher shop. His main duties involved keeping the store clean, trimming and mincing etc. here is where his journey to become a Butcher really started to really develop. Mark then started working full time at around the age of 18 trained, mentored and supervised by his very own father as an apprentice. Robbie claims that everything he has learnt so far is all thanks to his dad and the other butchers around him at FX Buckley’s. During this time at work, Mark wanted to become a butcher as his chosen career path and was willing to commit to learning from the best.
Keith WalshEddie Walsh & Sons Craft Butchers, Donegal
Keith is a third-generation butcher from EWS Traditional Butchers in Donegal. He has been working in the family business from an early age. The family business was started by his grandfather in 1962 and has come a long way since. Keith is passionate about all things food, butchery and value added. He has been a part of many awards EWS including the All Ireland Champion Of Champions winning team 2016 and most recently winning the 2017 All Ireland BBQ Championship Grand Prix. “It is a tremendous privilege to be involved with Team Ireland Butchery and I am willing to go the distance and put in the work for the team and country,” says Keith.
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