The competition, due to make its return in 2018, will take place at IFEX 2018 at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast and was part of a winning bid by Butchery Excellence Ireland. This is the first time in the competition’s history that the event has travelled to Ireland.
It is expected that more than 10 global teams will take part in the 2018 event, including teams from Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, England, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand, along with 250 butchers from around the globe.
Having previously taken place in New Zealand, Australia and Great Britain, the winning bid to secure the event for 2018 came from Team Ireland and was submitted by Rhonda Montgomery, CEO of Butchery Excellence Ireland and chef Sean Owens in conjunction with IFEX. Fresh Montgomery is the show organiser for IFEX, Northern Ireland’s equipment, interiors and food & drink products show.
Montgomery, bid co-ordinator, said: “Following a recent research trip to the World Butchers’ Challenge in Australia, I was confident that Butchery Excellence Ireland could help to deliver the first-ever World Butchers’ Challenge for Ireland and history is being made, with Belfast announced as the host venue for 2018.”
IFEX is one of Europe’s longest-established food, hospitality and retail events, and winner of ‘Best Tradeshow Exhibition under 2,000sq m’ at the 2016 AEO Excellence Awards. Taking place from 20-22 March 2018, IFEX will grow its footprint, with an additional dedicated pavilion that will be home to the World Butchers’ Challenge.
Owens, IFEX’s Salon Culinaire director, added: “We couldn’t be happier that we have secured this event for Belfast. This is an incredible opportunity for our Butchery Excellence Ireland members to demonstrate their skills and to shout about the quality of our produce on a world export stage.
“In addition to the competitions, our bid includes a five-day research trip across Ireland for the global delegation. This is our opportunity to showcase the world-class food tourism offering that we’re producing across the island, coupled with visits to our incredible world-accredited venues, from the Giant’s Causeway to the Guinness Storehouse and the Wild Atlantic Way. For our guests, we’re hoping that they will take home a real sense of Ireland, and help to further establish our food island reputation globally.”
The World Butchers’ Challenge grew from the Tri-Nations tournament, with the recent addition of France which went on to win in its first year, releasing the stranglehold that New Zealand had on the competition over Australia and Great Britain.