High ‘steaks’ contest: Limerick butchers are best in the world

Donal O'Regan


Donal O'Regan

Happy family: Garrett, Fiona, Michael and Paraic Landers, pictured in Belfast, are the proud owners of the 2018 World Butchers Challenge trophies

Happy family: Garrett, Fiona, Michael and Paraic Landers, pictured in Belfast, are the proud owners of the 2018 World Butchers Challenge trophies

JUST a few days after the rugby Grand Slam another Irish team backboned by Limerick men lifted a world title.

In a contest to see who would be crowned as the world’s top butchers, Team Ireland, with butchers from Northern Ireland and Ireland competing, were named 2018 World Butchers Challenge champions.

Limerick had not one but two of the Irish team that ‘meated’ out a beating to one and all in the high ‘steaks’ event. Team captain was Newcastle West man Garrett Landers, of Garrett’s Butchers, and he was joined by staff member Stephen Cooke, from Bruff.

Ireland competed against teams from Australia, Brazil, Bulgaria, France, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa and USA.

Following an outstanding display of butchery skills and creativity at the gala event in Titanic Belfast last week, the home nation was declared the winner.

Each team of six had just three hours and fifteen minutes to turn a side of beef, a side of pork, a whole lamb and five chickens into a themed display of value-added cuts.

Garrett said the win will add to Ireland and Northern Ireland’s reputation for the quality of its meat and craftsmanship, delivering additional promotion for the entire Island of Ireland on the global stage.

“We have been training for the World Butchers’ Challenge for almost 18 months, and to win on our first attempt is just incredible.

“The standard from the other countries was first-class, and we are beyond delighted to have won the award, here in Belfast – the first time that the World Butchers’ Challenge has ever been held here. It is not every day you win a world cup,” said Garrett, who was back to business as normal this week in Dooradoyle. Stephen Cooke works in the Castletroy branch.

Despite being held in Northern Ireland the competition garnered much more media exposure around the world.

“I was on television in New Zealand, Australia and France. The French brought 100 people with them and brought two truck loads of equipment with them. It is held every two years. The next one is Sacramento I think. It is the biggest meat event ever held,” said Garrett.

New Zealand and Australia were the favourites, he said, but they were both pipped by two Limerick and four Northern Irish men.

“I think they got a big shock. The standard was exceptional. Some of these guys are the best butchers in the world. So to win it is incredible. This is the first time there has been an Irish team so we’ve made history.” said Garett, who is married to Fiona. They live in Murroe with their two children Michael, aged 10, and Paraic, 7, who are very proud of their dad.

The team captain thinks it was their display that set them apart.

“You have to follow criteria. It is from breaking it down, how you present it, hygiene, how you cut it. There were 12 judges from all over the world,” said Garrett.

At the 2020 World Butchers Challenge, the knives will be out for the Irish team!