We’ve gotten used to our chefs travelling overseas and coming back with the silverware and the trophies.
But it’s not just our chefs who are doing the good thing. Quietly, confidently, Ireland’s butchers have been slaying the world’s best in international competitions.
Of course, butchers from Northern Ireland have often won U.K. competitions, but the process of conquering the world began when McCartney’s of Moira won the Supreme Award at the Great Taste Awards for their superlative corned beef.
They were quickly followed by James Whelan Butchers of Clonmel, who bagged the Supreme Award for their Beef Dripping. Peter Hannan butchers, also from Moira, has won two Supreme Awards at the Great Taste Awards.
And then, last year, Hugh Maguire of Navan once again brought home the Supreme Award for his sublime smoked black pudding, beating off the other 12,366 challengers.
But this year, our meat masters stepped on the gas even harder. A team of six butchers led by Garret Landers of Limerick won the 2018 World Butchers Challenge in Belfast, having spent a year of Sundays practising for the competition.
And then, just a couple of weeks ago, Keith Walsh, a family member of the outstanding EWS butchers of Donegal, bagged a gold medal, and was also the runner-up, in the Young Butchers International Competition, held in Perth, Australia.
This is some serious achievement, and its richly deserved, because Ireland’s artisan butchers are the backbone of our cuisine.
And hey, come on, Michael D.: these guys deserve a reception and photocall at the Aras. This is big news for Irish food: our butchers are world champions. Say it loud.
Photo from www.worldbutcherschallenge.com