Team Canada full of Albertans slicing their way to 'Meat Olympics'
World Butchers’ Challenge about creating complete butcher counter in just over 3 hours
Nine Canadians make up Team Canada and they plan to slaughter and value-add their way to the "Meat Olympics" next year in California. Three of them are from Alberta.
"I was always interested in it," Aaron McLaughlin told the Calgary Eyeopener.
"It is something I have always wanted to be a part of, and the fact Canada is now getting a team together is really exciting. I think it will bring a lot of positive attention to the meat industry in Canada."
McLaughlin is a National Meat Training Centre instructor at Olds College. He and Edmonton's Elyse Chatterton are two-thirds of Alberta's contribution to the team.
The World Butchers' Challenge in Sacramento, Calif., brings together 16 teams and gives them just over three hours to complete a side of beef, side of pork, a lamb and five chickens.
"It's making sausages, burgers, steaks, roasts — you name it. It is basically creating a ready-to-go butcher counter," Chatterton explained.
- LISTEN to the entire meaty Calgary Eyeopener interview with Aaron McLaughlin and Elyse Chatterton right here, starting at 24:14.
Chatterton says she has loved processing meat from a young age, but it happened by accident.
"My family are farmers in England and we have a butcher shop and were short-staffed. I started when I was 14 and realized I absolutely loved everything about the meat industry and have stayed doing it all my life," she said. "I am focused on the finishing work, making it look really smart and fancy."
McLaughlin says the judges are thorough and are looking for a lot.
"Food safety and sanitation is one of them. They look at your actual skill, cleanliness when you are boning product out. How you are doing the processes all the way down to the final product," he said.
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"How it presents, how it is going to taste."
Team Canada has until September 2020 to train individually and as a team, which involves travel. They've set up a fundraising page to help out but promise that none of it will go to salad, because research suggests you don't win friends with that.
With files from the Calgary Eyeopener