Butchers meet the challenge

CIARA PRATT
Last updated 05:00 18/02/2014
Reuben Sharples

KNIVES OUT: Reuben Sharples, left, Matthew Spires and Ivan Mansell will be representing the North Island in the Battle of the Butchers competition in March.

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It's a meaty challenge.

Three West Auckland butchers plan to carve up the competition when they represent the North Island in the annual North Island versus South Island: Battle of the Butchers.

The top five butchers from each island will go head-to-head in a high pressure competition next month in Queenstown.

Ivan Mansell from Clarks Organic Butchers in Glen Eden, Matthew Spires from New World Green Bay and Reuben Sharples of the Aussie Butcher New Lynn have been named in the team.

With more than 50 years experience between them, the Westie butchers reckon they can give the South Island team a run for their money.

"I'll say good luck," Mr Mansell says.

"We probably won't have time to see what they're doing but I hope they bring their A-game.

"We're not going there to lose."

For two hours both teams will go against each other to bone and slice one beef hind quarter, a side of pork and lamb and three chickens.

They'll also be judged on how much value they can add to the meat and their product knowledge as well as cleanliness and self-presentation.

"We pretty much have to create a new dish every minute," Mr Mansell says.

Mr Sharples says the popularity of TV cooking shows has resulted in butchers being kept on their toes to keep up with demand.

"Westies love their meat," he says.

"We'd be so chuffed to come away with a win and the customers would love it as well."

The winners will walk away with a trophy and five individual butchers will get the chance to trial for the national team, the Pure South Sharp Blacks.

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