Derbyshire butchers have sparkled with diamond and gold awards at the 2017 Butchers Q Guild Smithfield Awards.
Owen Taylor & Sons Butchers, of Leabrooks, Derbyshire, also struck gold six times, with their Pork & Leek Sausage, Home Cured Smoked Streaky Bacon, Steak & Ale Pie, Stilton Pork Pie, Greek Passion Lamb Rump Kitchen Ready Product, and Pigs in Blankets Kitchen Ready Product.
Carl Evans, Operations Manager, said: “2016 has been a very good year for us.”
The shop is current holder of the “Best Sirloin Steak in England” from AHDB (Eblex) Excellence Awards, and also won the Catering Butcher Award 2016 at the Meat Management Awards. Richard Taylor was announced Derbyshire’s Food Hero at the Derbyshire Life’s Food and Drink Awards 2016.
Open to the Q Guild’s 123 members nationwide, the 2017 Smithfield Awards attracted a record entry of almost 600 individual products, a major increase on the previous year, from 61 butcher businesses from the Scottish Highlands down to the south coast.
A total of 267 gold awards winners emerged this year across the Q Guild’s eight regions – this, too, was a new record high. Judged blind by independent panels of international food and meat industry experts, products were then shortlisted for the national final in each of the ten product categories.
Tom Parker Bowles told the butchers: "A town or city without a proper butcher is town without a heart. But all of you here today are masters of meat, heroes of the haunch, legends of the lamb chop and you don't do this for the prospect of a quick and easy buck.
"I know exactly how hard you all work, the long, gruelling, often freezing cold hours. The sawing, the cutting, the slicing, the lugging around of great carcasses, the constant attention to perfect hygiene, the sheer physical hard graft, the depth of knowledge and years of pure experience necessary which becomes the very essence of carnivorous good taste.
"Now this might not be or seem like a glamorous job, but we love you for it. What would we do without you? Great butchers are no mere make or trade. it is a part, a passion, a labour of love. It is a community hub and a place, of course, where lots of good gossip can be shared and spread as well.”
Q Guild national chairman, Alnwick butcher Mark Turnbull, said: “The record response this year was absolutely amazing and reinforced the Guild’s decision to change the Smithfield Awards format and make the awards early in the year. This year’s presentation event also attracted a record attendance.
“The new format allows all winners to promote their products and their businesses for a full 11 months within the current year of the awards, which - supported by special promotional packs presented to all gold award winners - will, we feel, prove an extremely potent and effective marketing tool.
“In addition, many entrants also tell us that the judges’ feedback proves invaluable in helping them not only to enhance their own Smithfield Award products, but also develop and launch even more successful ones after networking and sharing ideas with other members, which remains key to the Q Guild’s ethos.”
The picture below shows (left to right) Carl Evans-Operation Manager, Tom Parker Bowles, Richard Taylor (Managing Director)