New Zealand's bustling city of Auckland was the recent host of the prestigious National Butchery Awards. The event was filled with the distinctive sizzle of competition and the sharp edge of excellence, as butchers from all over the country battled it out to claim the top prize.
Rising above the rest, Luka Young from PAK'nSAVE was crowned as the champion of the 'Pact Packaging Young Butcher of the Year'.
He told REX host Dominic George that his determination and the relentless pursuit of his craft have been crucial in his climb to the top.
"Yeah, it just comes down to the littlest margins in these competitions and I'm happy that I came out on the winning end, though I've been on the other side numerous times," he said.
"So I kept coming back, kept coming back, clawing my way there and I've finally got it."
In this competitive industry, the champion butcher stressed the importance of resilience and a positive mindset.
"Everyone that makes it into their final, and a lot of the people in the regionals too all have the skills to take it forward and to win it.
"But it just comes down to the littlest margins at the end of the day, and you just keep working on it. You get your feedback and you just keep working and coming back, and the key is to never give up and bet on yourself."
When asked about his favourite animal to carve, Young confessed a fondness for beef.
"I'll say beef. Like I enjoy getting in there and breaking and burning down the beef and separating the carcass into the cuts that we put out into the meat case and stuff like that.
Looking ahead, Young has his eyes set on the upcoming World Butchers Challenge in Paris, France, in 2025.
"So they have the World Butchers Challenge in 2025 in Paris, France. So yeah, hoping to get on the team to go back and give it a shot.".
The championship is an international showcase of butchery skills, with competitors from across the globe. Young's victory in Auckland has already secured him a ticket to this world-class event.
Listen to the full chat between Pact Packaging Young Butcher of the Year Luka Young and Dominic George above.