Motherwell apprentice was up for the battle as butchers went to war

Nineteen-year-old Craig Robertson took to the stage against some top talent from across the UK
Nineteen-year-old Craig Robertson took to the stage against some top talent from across the UK

The country’s butchers went to war in one of the industry’s most fiercely contested competitions.

And doing battle in the showcase finals of the UK’s first ever Butcher Wars was apprentice Motherwell butcher Craig Robertson from James Chapman Butchers.

Run by Scottish Craft Butchers as part of their biennial Trade Fair in Perth, the Scotch Lamb PGI sponsored event attracted top talent from all over Scotland and south of the border.

Butchers Wars are a feature in Australia and New Zealand, but this is the first time they have been staged in any other country.

Craig (19) was one of 10 taking part in the Singles competition where he was up against the clock and some of the country’s most experienced butchers in the 45-minute challenge.

The Wars challenged butchers to break down a half saddle of Speciallty Selected Pork and a half Scotch Lamb to create a show-stopping display.

Each was judged on a raft of criteria including their personal appearance, butchery skills, food safety, wastage, creativity and health and safety.

Craig said: “I knew I was up against the best but that was one of the things that appealed.

“To be part of the UK’s first ever Butcher Wars was awesome and I learned a lot from the skills or the guys around me.

“It was a tremendous event - really exciting - and I’m very proud to have been a part of it.”

Craig started out in the butchery industry as a Saturday boy with Chapmans before taking up an apprenticeship when he left school.

He said: “Butcher Wars was a great experience and maybe I’ll get a chance to come back in future years and give them a run for their money.”

The first winners of the competition were Singles champion Barry Green from Grantown on Spey and Doubles champions Steven Cusack and Hamish Jones from Inverurie.

Douglas Scott, chief executive of Scottish Craft Butchers, said: “We put on a show that combined all the skill, innovation and passion of some of the country’s leading butchers with theatre and showmanship and the result was fantastic. It was quite a show and everyone has loved being a part of it.”

Head judge Keith Fisher added: “Butchers Wars brought out the best in an impressive and exciting display and I am in no doubt the future of Scotland’s local butchers is in safe hands.”