Working in cold temperatures, surrounded by knives and the smell of raw meat might sound unappealing to some - for one Pahiatua man it's taking him straight to the top.
Louis Smith, 19, is a butcher. He spends his days sharpening knives, cutting meat and trying to not slice off a finger.
He was in his element at the Alto Young Butcher and Competenz Butcher Apprentice of the Year Lower North Island regional competition, held last weekend in Palmerston North, showing off his skill.
The competition has five regional rounds where entrants have to sit an exam, undertake an interview and do a practical cutting test.
With only two years' experience, Smith was stoked to make the regional finals for apprentices.
"Its a really good experience to compete against others.
"It's a lot different cutting under pressure when you're being judged."
He didn't make the national finals but intends to try again next year in the butchers' category.
Smith got his start while cleaning floors at New World Pahiatua.
"I sort of finished school and there weren't any jobs anywhere. I got offered this and it seemed alright.
"It's a good trade to have, people are always going to want meat."
Head judge Matt Grimes said this year's level of skill had surpassed previous years. "Butchery requires strength and precision and this year's entrants are very much bringing that to the table."
- Manawatu Standard
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