Kiwi butch­ers keen to carve up ri­vals

Central Leader - - NEWS - By JESS LEE

Two butch­ers are sharp­en­ing their knives ready to do bat­tle in a trina­tions com­pe­ti­tion.

Phill Pirie and Peter Martin are part of the na­tional butch­ery team the Pure South Sharp Blacks which will take on the best from Eng­land and Aus­tralia at the 2014 Butch­ery Tri-Na­tions on July 10.

Pirie, of Mt Eden, fea­tured in the Cen­tral Leader last year af­ter he was selected as one of the top six com­peti­tors from a ‘‘bat­tle of the butch­ers’’ to make up this year’s lineup.

He is one of only two new­com­ers to make the fi­nal team.

‘‘Ev­ery year this team is made up of the very best New Zealand can pro­vide.

‘‘It’s pretty cut-throat but that’s what keeps the com­pe­ti­tion and the in­dus­try alive,’’ Pirie says.

‘‘To com­pete at this level and rep­re­sent your coun­try is very hum­bling.’’

The team will travel to York­shire, Eng­land, on June 30 for the con­test.

Pirie ac­tu­ally hails from York­shire him­self but has no qualms about rep­re­sent­ing his adopted coun­try on his home turf.

‘‘What a turn­coat, eh? But home is where the heart is for me and that’s here in New Zealand.

‘‘If Irene van Dyk can do it for net­ball and rugby play­ers can do it, then why can’t butch­ers?’’

One­hunga butcher Peter Martin is an old hand, hav­ing joined the team when it be­gan four years ago.

Each squad has two hours to process a side of beef, a whole lamb and pro­duce a top qual­ity butch­ery dis­play.

The Ki­wis had their fi­nal prac­tice ses­sion on June 8.

Martin says New Zealand lost out to teams from across the ditch for the first two years, mak­ing them all the more mo­ti­vated to bring home the ti­tle last year.

‘‘As a group of quite dif­fer­ent in­di­vid­u­als what we end up pro­duc­ing is quite cool,’’ he says.

‘‘When the con­cept of this com­pe­ti­tion was first given to me I saw it as a huge op­por­tu­nity to show­case how skil­ful we are in this in­dus­try.’’

It is more about culi­nary art than car­casses, Pirie says.

‘‘New Zealand cur­rently holds the shield so we’re go­ing over there to win, we’re not go­ing over there for a hol­i­day.’’

Pirie has used ev­ery­thing from dry ice to liq­uid smoke at past com­pe­ti­tions to fash­ion meaty cre­ations in the style of ex­per­i­men­tal chef He­ston Blu­men­thal.

The stan­dard of com­pe­ti­tion im­proves each year but Pirie and Martin reckon New Zealand has a good shot at de­fend­ing the ti­tle.

Photo: JESS LEE

Cut above: Butch­ers Phill Pirie and Peter Martin hope to de­fend New Zealand’s Butch­ery Tri-Na­tions shield against Eng­land and Aus­tralia as part of the Pure South Sharp Blacks.

Go to cen­tral­leader.co.nz and click on Lat­est Edi­tion to watch high­lights of last year’s com­pe­ti­tion.

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