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Meet our champion butcher

Gisborne ''unknown' to stake a claim for national glory.

He started the Lower North Island Young Butcher regional final with the nickname “The Unknown” from Gisborne.

Braham Pink ended it with the winner's trophy.

Butchers sharpened their knives and cut their way through a two-hour competition in the Lower North Island regional final of the 2020 Young Butcher and Butcher Apprentice of the Year competition in Wellington.

Braham, who works at Evans Bacon Company, not only won the Young Butcher title, he also earned a place in the grand final at Auckland's ASB Showgrounds on November 10.

Competitors put their boning, trimming, slicing and dicing skills to the test to break down a size 20 chicken, a whole pork leg and a beef short loin into a display of value-added products.

“It was a fantastic achievement for our shop, our business and our town,” said Braham.

The hardest part of the challege was conquering his nerves, while the beef short loin task was especially tricky.

“That probably requires the most work and a large set of skills.

“I was very pleased. It took an enormous amount of work to get here and not just by me. I couldn't have done it without Steve and Jaki Watson (owners of Evans).

“I am so fortunate to be surrounded by a fantastic crew of butchers who have been so supportive,” he said.

“I loved the challenge and I'm ecstatic about the win and looking forward to what is coming next.”

The Watsons took on Braham as an apprentice straight from Lytton High School eight years ago.

“I'm very proud,” Steve said. “It's the first time he's been in it.

“He just finished his apprenticeship last year.

The judges were rapt with what he was doing.

“They classed him as ‘the unknown' because he wasn't from a major supermarket,” said Steve.

Jaki said they were “very proud” of Braham's achievement and the dedication he had shown.

Another one of Evans' butchers, Lehi Te Kiri, will compete in the Master Butcher of the Year competition later in the year.

Head Judge Peter Martin, the butchery manager of Fresh Choice in Cromwell, is a strong advocate of butchery competitions.

“I believe the gains are huge for every entrant who has had to plan, practise and come up with creative ideas in order to compete against their peers,” he said.

“It not only boosts their confidence but helps to raise the standard in the industry.

“The high calibre of knife skills and the quality of the final displays made it a very close competition.”

Sharp with a knife: Lower North Island 2020 Young Butcher of the Year winner Braham Pink stocks the shelves at Evans Bacon Company's meat supermarket. Braham overcame nerves over a range of tests to win the title and qualify for the grand final in Auckland. Picture by Paul Rickard