The Craft Guild of Chefs Graduate Awards - top tips on how to pass the 'butchery' task

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 14th April 2017

The Craft Guild of Chefs Graduate Awards is celebrating its 16th year and it has added some amazing chefs to its wall of fame in that time.

So who better to offer advice to the next chef hopefuls entering this year's Graduate Awards than those who have already achieved this award! The Staff Canteen spoke to past graduates to find out what advice they would give to successfully pass the 'butchery' task.

**The Graduate Awards are an examination for chefs, aged 23 and under, designed to test and improve the skills that chefs have learnt at college and in their early careers, and take them to the next level. Chefs have until Sunday, 1st April 2018 to submit their entries. You can complete your entry form online here.

Ruth Hansom from Michelin starred The Ritz
Ruth Hansom

1) Ruth Hansom, Young National Chef of the Year 2017 winner and chef at the Michelin-starred the Ritz was a graduate in 2014.

“Although things are never miles apart there are more variants. Try to practice each thing at least twice and again choose your weakest area to practice more on. Make sure you have a little saw and a nail file to neaten up any exposed bone work you may be asked to do.”

2) Connor Godfrey, junior sous chef, Royal Garden Hotel and 2014 graduate

“My advice on the butchery would be the same as the fish task as they are both skills that are developed over time and will only be improved by constant practicing and development.”

3) Victoria Scupham, pastry chef, The Royal Household and former graduate 2014.

“I think for both the fish and butchery tasks the key is to practice both of the fish and meat options in which you are given even though on the day you will only be given one fish and and meat so that you are confident with both and not just the one.

“Whilst practicing, the key is to make sure you are strict and time yourself when you are practicing both the fishmonger and butchery tasks so that on the day you are confident you are able to complete the task in the time frame and won't run over. Also, make sure when you are practicing you imagine it is the competition day every time – so ensure to work cleanly, neatly, safely and tidy every time – then when it comes to the task you will continue to work professionally. Another main factor is to try to enjoy the whole experience.”

4) Amber Francis, apprentice chef, at the Michelin-starred The Ritz and 2014 graduate

Read the specification exactly, take note of precisely what the examiners are looking for. You can lose valuable marks for not following the specification.”

Erin Yates.jpg.640x480 q80
Erin Yates

5) Andrew Hall is head chef at The Ninth which holds a star in the Michelin Guide UK. He is also a former graduate from 2006.

“When you are given your task take a moment to plan and visualise how you will move forward.”

6) Erin Yates is former demi chef at Wiltons and was a graduate from last year’s competition.

“In preparation for the semi-finals I was working on the sauce section at work, which was a great help with my butchery skills. I was also able to get lots of pigeon in and as this was our starter. I designed my dish and put it on the set menu for the week. This was perfect practice because I got feedback from other chefs but also from customers.”

7) Eleanor de Maria is junior sous at Compass Group UK & Ireland Head Office and was also a graduate from 2016.

luke selby
Luke Selby

“After finding out the two options for this task, get in contact with your meat supplier or local butcher and arrange a training day in order for them to teach you the correct method to complete these tasks and then practice over and over again.”

8) Luke Selby is currently the head chef of the Michelin starred Dabbous in London and was Young National Chef of the Year 2014. He was a graduate back in 2013.

“Assess the meat you have been given, plan and think about where you will cut.”

9) Rosa Fothergill, who previously worked at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, is now the chef and owner of Tea Time Yorkshire. Rosa was a graduate from back in 2008.

“Most restaurants don't buy in whole carcasses, try and visit your local butchery, spend the day working with them they will teach you so much in a day.”

10) Drew Snaith, senior sous at the Globe Tavern in Borough Market, was a graduate in 2015 and was a finalist in last year’s Young National Chef of the Year competition.

I always prefer a super sharp boning knife for most butchery. Don't be scared to use a little force where necessary (cutting through cartilage etc.). Remember, once it's trimmed you can't reattach, so trim with care and precision, the judges will be checking your wastage! Practise butcher’s knots over and over again to get the hang of it, they will come in useful and work as cleanly as possible.”

11) Charlie Aggett was a graduate in 2015 and is currently chef tournant at the Michelin-starred Hotel Villino in Lindau, Germany.

Contact your meat supplier(s) from work or perhaps a local butcher to ask for some tips, you'd be surprised how helpful they are. They may even invite you in for a demonstration and/or practice!”

>>> Read more about the Craft Guild of Chefs Graduate Awards here

In these challenging times…

…the hospitality landscape has dramatically changed in the last two months, and with that our advertising revenues have all but expired, significantly impacting our business. Despite having to furlough a large portion of our staff, we are still delivering the valuable content and honest information, which hundreds of thousands of you come to The Staff Canteen for. We believe we have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs, are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector.

Your financial support means we remain independent and open to all. We were launched by a chef and remain the voice of chefs and other hospitality professionals.

We need your support to keep delivering the products and content that you love, giving you the platform to share opinions and inspiration. Every contribution whether big or small, means so much.
Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 14th April 2017

The Craft Guild of Chefs Graduate Awards - top tips on how to pass the 'butchery' task