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Oshawa butcher take top prize at skills competition

By Meat & Poultry Ontario (MPO)   

General

Ontario’s Finest Butcher Competition, a decade-long celebration of the craft of butchery and the outstanding skills of Ontario’s artisans, has reached a remarkable milestone as it proudly marks its 10th anniversary.

This year’s competition—held as part of the MPO (Meat and Poultry Ontario)’s annual meeting—was nothing short of extraordinary, featuring top butchers from across Ontario who displayed their exceptional talents and creativity.

Among the competitors, Chris McNutt of Halenda’s Fine Foods emerged victorious, earning the prestigious title of Ontario’s Finest Butcher.

Hailing from Oshawa, McNutt is a seasoned Meat Manager at Halenda’s, boasting 15 years of butchery experience. He kick-started his career by completing a Retail Meat Cutting apprenticeship program and has since become a distinguished veteran of the Ontario’s Finest Butcher Competition.

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Richard Halenda, the CEO of Halenda’s Fine Foods, shares his thoughts on Chris’s victory:

“We at Halenda’s Fine Foods are all extremely proud of Chris on his recent win of becoming Ontario’s Finest Butcher. He is a mentor for the company in the hard work and determination he puts into our trade every day.”

The competition was fierce, where three talented finalists, which included Dave Vandervelde of VG Meats and Dylan Meidema of Townsend Butchers, were challenged to transform 3 surprise proteins—boneless chuck roll, leg of lamb, and a whole rabbit—into a dazzling Harvest Season display within 45 minutes

It was Chris McNutt’s seasoned skills, combined with his unwavering dedication, and creative expertise that set him apart, securing his position as this year’s champion.

Franco Naccarato, the Executive Director for Meat & Poultry Ontario (MPO), expressed his enthusiasm for the competition’s 10th anniversary, stating,

“Over the past decade, Ontario’s Finest Butcher Competition has become a symbol of excellence in the industry. It has been a privilege to witness the dedication and talent of our local butchers over the years. Congratulations Chris for taking home the win.”

In addition to donning the official champion’s jacket, McNutt took home a prize package valued at over $3000 including a Minimax Big Green Egg™ Ultimate Kit, eno La Plancha Grill, a Chilly Moose Chilly Ice Box cooler and a $250 cash prize from YesGroup.

This year’s competition footage can be watched at https://youtu.be/fL7O-7A4X7Q?si=Ko5j9pDQAGlQqf0K

Headquartered in Guelph, Ont., Meat & Poultry Ontario (MPO) is the representative voice of Ontario’s meat industry, with its membership comprising   meat and poultry processors, wholesalers, and retailers; industry suppliers; and not-for profit organizations that support MPO’s objectives.

Ac cording to MPO, Ontario’s meat and poultry sector employs 25 per cent of Ontario’s food and beverage processing industry’s total workforce—making it single largest manufacturing employer in Ontario—and generates $11.2 billion of the province’s $45 billion food and beverage processing industry revenue.

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