Mark McArdle (pictured left) has been crowned champion of Wales at the final of Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) Butchers’ Club butchery competition at this year’s Royal Welsh Show.
McArdle, from McArdle Family Butchers of Chirk, battled it out against Matthew Edwards (pictured right) from Vaughan’s in Penyffordd to produce a range of products from cuts of PGI Welsh Lamb and PGI Welsh Beef in just 90 minutes.
“I’ve never entered an event like this before, but I loved the competition,” said McArdle.
“Ninety minutes is a short time in which to prepare a range of products, so the pressure was on.”
The young butcher explained that a lot of investment has gone into the family business, which has helped with trade. “It’s a real family affair for us, and we finished a major shop refurbishment in January. Since then we’ve really seen an increase in customers – and dad’s plans for semi-retirement have had to go on hold!
“We always stock the best PGI Welsh Beef and Lamb and we appreciate the promotional material from HCC’s Butchers’ Club – it’s good for business and for promoting Welsh agriculture. Visiting customers really like to try Welsh produce, particularly the Welsh Black beef which we source from Bala.”
Prys Morgan, head of HCC’s operations, commended the two competitors on their high level of skill. “Both Mark McArdle and Matthew Edwards showed truly exceptional skills and creativity. I was delighted that two young butchers were able to showcase the talent that exists within HCC’s Butchers’ Club, and many congratulations to Mark on winning the title this year.”
Aside from winning the title of HCC Butcher of the Year, McArdle will also receive a three-course meal for two at any HCC Welsh Lamb Club restaurant.
HCC’s Butchers’ Club is open for any business that is commitment to supplying PGI Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef. Members receive point-of-sale kits from HCC and take part in promotional campaigns.