Chirk Butcher makes the cut at all-Wales contest

Mark McArdle, of McArdle Family Butchers of Chirk, has been crowned champion of Wales at the final of the Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) Butchers’ Club butchery competition.

The butchery competition took place at this year’s Royal Welsh Show, and featured two finalists under pressure to produce a range of tempting products from cuts of PGI Welsh Lamb and PGI Welsh Beef in just 90 minutes.

Mark McArdle narrowly beat another north-east Wales competitor, Matthew Edwards of Vaughan’s in Penyffordd. Both young butchers received high praise for their skills and the quality of their presentation.

“I’ve never entered an event like this before, but I loved the competition,” said Mark McArdle. “90 minutes is a short time in which to prepare a range of products, so the pressure was on.”

Mark explained that a lot of investment has recently taken place in his business in Chirk. “It’s a real family affair for us, and we finished a major shop refurbishment in January. Since then we’ve really seen an increase in customers – and dad’s plans for semi-retirement have had to go on hold!”

McArdle’s take great pride in showcasing Welsh produce. “We always stock the best PGI Welsh Beef and Lamb” added Mark, “and we appreciate the promotional material from HCC’s Butchers’ Club – it’s good for business and for promoting Welsh agriculture. Visiting customers really like to try Welsh produce, particularly the Welsh Black beef which we source from Bala.”

HCC’s Butchers’ Club is open to any butcher who is committed to using PGI Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef. Members receive point-of-sale promotional material from HCC, and take part in promotional campaigns.

Prys Morgan, HCC’s Head of Operations and one of the competition judges, was astounded by the high standard of the butchery displays. “Both Mark McArdle and Matthew Edwards showed truly exceptional skills and creativity,” said Prys. “I was delighted that two young butchers were able to showcase the talent that exists within HCC’s Butchers’ Club, and many congratulations to Mark on winning the title this year.”

As well as the title of HCC Butcher of the Year, Mark McArdle will receive a three-course meal for two at any HCC Welsh Lamb Club restaurant.