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Dales Traditional Butchers

How did you become involved in the Meat Industry?
I became involved in the meat industry when I started working in the local butchers (Duncan Hayes, Langho, Ribble Valley). At first it was after school and Saturdays as well as during holidays until I left school early and jumped at the chance of working full time.

I did a YTS course where I achieved ‘Butcher of the Year’ and continued training at Blackpool and Fylde College whilst still working. After college I gained some abattoir experience at Heywoods Butchers in Wiltshire as they had their own slaughter house.

Where did it all begin?
I always wanted to work in an abattoir as a child as I loved the film the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and it was based on a family of slaughter men. So the opportunity of working for my local butchers was just up my street. Sadly, the abattoir part had to wait until I was 16.

My butchery experience has covered shops, market stalls, abattoirs, restaurants, boning lines and farm shops. I was asked in 1999 if I would help keep the local butchers shop open in Kirkby Lonsdale so I jumped at the opportunity. It was only a 5 year project, but I am still here 10 years later owning the business and the property.

What is the most unusual request a customer has asked you to provide?
As the shop offers Hog roasts and BBQ’s I was once asked to provide venison and chicken fajitas for 250 people. The request was to BBQ all the meat at the event slice it into strips served with salad and cheese.

It doesn’t sound anything to exciting but there were just 4 of us cooking, cutting and serving and we managed to serve everyone with food in less than one hour. We received a fantastic round of applause, I can still hear them clapping.

What has been the proudest moment in your Meat Industry career to date?
To be crowned the Q Guilds Supreme BBQ Champion with my lamb rumps, after only being a member of the Q Guild for 12 months (which I wish I had joined 20 years ago). It was a fantastic achievement for me, my staff and customers.

If you were hosting a dinner party, Who would you invite, Which cut of meat would you serve, Where would it be held?
Alice Cooper, I have been a fan since I was 12 years old. I have met him on numerous occasions and been to his restaurant Cooperstown in Phoenix Arizona.I would serve a spit roasted lamb marinated in garlic and rosemary, just like my BBQ winning Lamb Rumps. (lamb is my favourite meat).

I would host it in Draculas Castle in Romania. We are both Horror Film fans so I think this would be an ideal location.

What are your favourite pastimes when you`re not working?
I love spending time with my family having days out and usually that means me looking into butcher’s shop windows! Also walking my dog Nacho and watching horror movies or cult films.

What are your business plans for the next year - Why choose the Q Guild?
Plans for next year include increasing our social media activity, further developing the website and online shop, plus increasing the number of staff

For inspiration, meeting like-minded people and getting involved. I have learnt so much in such a short space of time that I also hope to help and inspire others as they have helped me.