Professional butchery is becoming a dying profession in the country. To this end the Aussie Meat Academy, under the auspices of Meat & Livestock Australia, has placed initiatives to refresh and develop skilful and knowledgeable young butchers to secure the future of the retail and foodservice industry in Malaysia.
Professional butchery is not just about cutting meat, it also showcases the butcher’s skill in deboning, breaking down primals into an assortment of cuts like grill or pan steaks, stir fry strips, cubes, yakiniku, shabu-shabu, sukiyaki, burgers and sausage making, marination and value-adding.
Retail butchers would need to present and display meat attractively in the meat chiller counters, applying price tag labelling, reducing meat wastages, increasing yields and most importantly providing convenience and practical meat products for consumers.
For foodservice butchers, there are not many being hired in the hotel industry now due to rising costs. However, if a hotel has many restaurants to cater to, the butchers will be required to have skills like meat cutting, deboning, marinating, sausage making, dry aging and preparation for oven roast, grill and creative cooking. The goal is to ensure the meat is cut and prepared for the chefs to cook to precision, tenderness and customers’ satisfaction.
These butchery skills were called upon in the Ultimate Young Butchers Competition organised by the Aussie Meat Academy at Culinaire Malaysia 2023. The butchery event was part of Food & Hotel Malaysia 2023 (FHM), from 19 to 22 September at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.
The competition encouraged plus set a benchmark and new platform to promote the butchery profession, a sense of belonging to professionalism and to support the foodservice and retail industry.
Most people may think butchery has no future career path, but this is untrue as many butchers have become Executive Chefs and Store Managers. The butchery skills set is recognisable and the demand for butchers is high especially in the retail industry and neighbouring countries like Singapore are constantly sourcing for skilled butchers.
There were 24 participants from Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Taiwan in the competition, all of whom have at least one year butchery experience and are aged 38 and below.
Part of the competition requires the candidate to demonstrate by breaking up a Primal of an Aussie Lamb and Beef cut into different sub-primal cuts and submitting ideas within the given time frame that are applicable to foodservice or/and retail requirements
Participants will also have to cook a western or an Asian main course, to be presented in western style, among other requirements.
The competition was in four sessions over two days, with the winners disclosed on 22 September, the last day of FHM 2023 during the FHM Closing dinner.
The butchery champion Liao Ci-Hong of Yun Chang Beef Restaurant, Taiwan received RM3,000 and a trophy. The first runner-up Lai Chih Lun of Gourmet’s Partner, Taiwan won RM2,000 and a trophy, and the second runner-up Mohd Zamri Bin Mohd Ramli of TFP Retail Sdn Bhd, Malaysia received RM1,000 and a trophy.
“The competition is to promote butchery as a profession,” said Rose Yong, Malaysia Country Representative, Meat & Livestock Australia. “It’s a good career, working in big supermarkets and hotels. Some big hotels hire butchers not only to cut meat but also to make sausages, roast meat in a combi oven, do sous vide and smoking.”
Hence the competency, versatility and skills of the butcher are invaluable in the foodservice industry. The competition showcases practical ideas, efficiency and competency as a benchmark for butchers. Following the competition, Meat & Livestock Australia will continue to upgrade butchers’ skills and knowledge with specific training under the Aussie Meat Academy framework.
Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) exhibited at the Food & Hotel Malaysia 2023 together with newly approved Australian beef and sheep meat exporters: Beaufort River Meats, Midfield Commodities, Midfield Meat International and Stella Foods Australia.
Under the FHM Trend Talks series, show visitors joined two of MLA’s engaging panel discussions on “Embracing Sustainability: Australian Red Meat Industry Revolution” and “How to achieve Profitability with Secondary Meat Cuts”.