CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Lancashire Life today CLICK HERE

Meet Tom Wood, Huntley’s Country Stores’ butcher heading for the World Butcher’s Challenge

PUBLISHED: 00:00 05 August 2016

Tom Wood in Huntley's Restaurant

Tom Wood in Huntley's Restaurant

Archant

The knives are out and the gloves are off for a butcher determined to make the cut at this year’s World Butchers’ Challenge in Australia. Emma Mayoh reports

Butchery counter at Huntley's Country StoresButchery counter at Huntley's Country Stores

Tom Wood isn’t the kind to settle for second place. When the 37-year-old was part of the GB team which took the number two spot in the Tri Nation Butchery Competition in New Zealand last year, he was determined things would be different in 2016.

‘I absolutely want us to win this year,’ said Tom. ‘We came really close which I think surprised a few people. There were only a few points in it. It’s got to happen this year.

‘I’ve always been a person with a strong work ethic. I stay focused and set myself high targets. I was lucky enough to be brought up in the industry from being knee-high and meat is my passion. Second best isn’t good enough for me.’

It is good news for Lancashire and for the Great British team as next month Tom, butchery manager at Huntley’s Country Stores in Samlesbury, will travel to Australia’s Gold Coast as one of six butchers representing the country at the World Butcher’s Challenge.

Tom WoodTom Wood

He will be vice-captain of the British Beefeaters Team GB and will face rivals from Australia and New Zealand as well as newcomers, France. He and his fellow competitors will be given animal carcasses to carve into various cuts. They must provide a finished spread of meat that would be pride of place in a modern retail outlet. They will be scored on their butchery skills, workmanship, product innovation, the overall finish and presentation. There are just three hours to do it.

‘It’s very intense and that time really does pass by quickly,’ said Tom. ‘One wrong slice of the knife and it makes it hard for everyone else or even worse, you can totally ruin a cut.

‘The pressure will definitely be on. But I’m looking forward to getting out there and getting started.’

Tom earned his place on the team last year after taking part in a gruelling selection process in London. He had to carve different parts of a carcass in front of a live audience as well as in front of the judges who would make the final decision on whether he deserved a spot on the team.

Butchery counter at Huntley's Country StoresButchery counter at Huntley's Country Stores

‘It was pretty terrifying,’ he said. ‘I remember looking up and there were people around my bench. They were probably hoping for some time to chat but once I’m in the zone it’s like there is nothing else going on around me.

‘I couldn’t quite believe it when I found out I’d got a place. I was so excited and apprehensive but mostly, so incredibly proud.’

Tom grew up on the family farm in Dutton working with his father, James. His competitive nature has given him success in picking up the skills needed for a successful career in butchery – including running the successful department at Huntley’s, of which he is understandable proud.

But it has also stood him in good stead for other pursuits. He used to show some of the Simmental herd from the family farm. And he also enjoyed success locally in show jumping competitions.

Butchery counter at Huntley's Country StoresButchery counter at Huntley's Country Stores

‘People are pretty surprised about the show jumping,’ said Tom, who lives in Chipping. ‘But it was something I loved. And I always try to do my absolute best in everything I do.

‘But when I turned 17, things changed. I gave up the horses and bought my first car, a Vauxhall Nova. It’s funny looking back.’

As you’d expect from someone as determined as Tom, he has big ambitions. As well as keeping standards high at Huntleys, he also dreams of running a butchery and cookery school and passing on his skills to younger generations as a way of keeping the industry thriving. This includes his three daughters Sophia, 13, Lily-Mae, 10, and Mia, nine.

‘Through things like the competition, it’s good to showcase what you can actually do and hopefully educate and promote the industry,’ he said. ‘I was fortunate enough to be brought up in the farming industry by my parents and being brought up in the meat trade by my father. That really cemented my passion for butchery.

Butchery counter at Huntley's Country StoresButchery counter at Huntley's Country Stores

‘Growing up, attending and supporting the agricultural shows during the summer were far better than going to Ibiza in my eyes. The farming community is second to none. My father taught me the whole process.

‘Now, I find myself in my father’s position and educating my three daughters who also have the opportunity to witness the fantastic industry. From helping on the farm and seeing livestock born to watching their dad in the butchery trade, it gives me great satisfaction to broaden their minds and teach them the difference between quality and the correct methods that are in place throughout the trade. You never know, I might have a future butcherette!’

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Lancashire Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Lancashire Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Lancashire Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Food & Drink

The seeds of an organic food co-operative built on Quaker principles were first sewn almost 20 years ago. Now, Growing with Grace is flourishing

Read more
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Take a bite from the county with a dining experience with a difference

Read more
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Michelin judges have put Lancashire and the Lakes firmly on the UK’s map of culinary excellence, writes Roger Borrell

Read more
Monday, October 29, 2018

Modern Portuguese flavours and fabulous wine give you every reason to visit Canto at Ancoats

Read more
Manchester Restaurants
Wednesday, October 24, 2018

William Firth crafts high end products that help food and drink companies make their products shine.

Emma Mayoh reports.

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Calyx founder Raphael Ogunrinde is drinking in the success of his Burnley business, as Emma Mayoh discovered

Read more
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

BBQ doesn’t just have to be for the summer. Expert Richard Holden shares his advice on how to cook outdoors in all seasons

Read more
Monday, October 22, 2018

The Spice Club attracts diners in their droves. And it all started in a front room in Whitefield. Emma Mayoh reports.

Read more
Asian Food
Friday, October 19, 2018

Talented chef Spencer Burge has driven Bertram’s Restaurant in Burnley to success

Read more
Thursday, October 18, 2018

Oli Martin is a head chef that has transformed the kitchens at Hipping Hall. Emma Mayoh finds out more

Read more
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is among the owners of Tast, a new restaurant helping King Street’s ambitions to join the gastronomic Premier League.

Read more
Manchester Restaurants Spanish Food
Wednesday, October 17, 2018

When is a pub not a pub? When it’s the Freemasons at Wiswell, as Emma Mayoh discovered

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The winners of the 2018 Lancashire Life Food and Drink Awards were announced at a glittering ceremony at Ribby Hall Village.

Read more
Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The winner of the Tearoom/Café of the Year category announced

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Property Search