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Mumbles butcher named Welsh Craft Butcher of the Year

Welsh Culinary Association National Chef of Wales Competition at the ICC Wales. Picture by Phil Blagg Photography.

An experienced butcher from Mumbles has celebrated 20 years in the trade by becoming the new Welsh Craft Butcher of the Year.

Philip Tucker, 38, from Tuckers Butchers, Mumbles, proved a cut above four other finalists to win the coveted title and a gold medal at the Welsh International Culinary Championships (WICC) held at the International Convention Centre Wales (ICC Wales), Newport.

After receiving the trophy and other prizes from Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths at the WICC awards dinner last night (Wednesday), he confessed: “I wasn’t expecting to win as I only started planning my display last Thursday and didn’t have a dry run.

“I did some innovative products but didn’t manage to get everything done that I wanted to within the time limit. I was confident about my products but it was the finer details that might have let me down.

“To be honest, after going through our busiest time of the year at Christmas, this competition has been a really good incentive for me in a quiet January.”

Judges praised the high standards of butchery skills and creativity displayed by finalists in a competition sponsored by the Culinary Association of Wales (CAW) and Cambrian Training Company.

Runner-up and silver medallist was Ben Roberts, owner of Astley & Stratton Ltd, Farndon, near Chester, who launched his new shop in the week before the final.

Bronze medallists were Ieuan Hughes from Golden Valley Meat & Game, Grosmont, Abergavenny; Elis Morris from Daniel Morris Butchers, Mold and Ieuan Pincott from Oriel Jones, Canton, Cardiff.

The butchers tackled two tasks supervised by the judges, Peter Rushforth, Craig Holly, Chris Jones and Andrew Addis-Fuller. They had 30 minutes to cut a whole lamb into primal joints, as well as clean their work area.

For the second task, they had one hour and 20 minutes to produce a visually exciting display to merchandise the meat showcasing both their skills and creativity.

The competition is a stepping stone to the Craft Butchery Team Wales, which includes five former Welsh Butcher of the Year or Welsh Young Butcher of the Year winners – Rushforth, Holly, Matthew Edwards, Tomi Jones and Dan Allen-Raftery.

The team will be competing at the World Butcher Challenge 2025 in Paris, having made its debut at the event in California in 2022 where Roberts won a bronze medal in the Champion Butcher Apprentice.

Arwyn Watkins, OBE, CAW president and Cambrian Training Company’s executive chairman, told guests at the awards dinner: “We brought butchery into the Culinary Association of Wales so that we could create the Craft Butchery Team Wales.

“Part of the Welsh Craft Butcher of the Year competition is talent spotting for the team as we prepare for the World Butcher Challenge 2025 in Paris.”

The WICC’s headline sponsors are the Welsh Government, Castell Howell, Hybu Cig Cymru / Meat Promotion Wales, ICC Wales, Cambrian Training Company, Kentaur, Churchill, MCS Technical Products, Roller Grill, Radnor Hills, Dick Knifes, Cygnet Gin, Capital Cuisine, Ecolab, City & Guilds and Compass Cymru.

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