Dunedin’s Jayden Segar has taken out the Emerging Talent award at the recent ANZCO Foods Butcher Apprentice of the Year competition held in Auckland. Jayden, who works at Countdown Central in Dunedin went head to head with five apprentices in the final for a battle of the butchers, winning the Emerging Talent award, which was new for 2020.
As well as an exam and interviews with a judging panel, the finalists were given two hours to break down a large chicken, a pork leg, a beef short loin and a ‘mystery cut’, which turned out to be a lamb forequarter, into a display of value-added products using stuffing and other ingredients and a variety of techniques.
Jayden, who has just finished his Competenz butchery apprenticeship, was eligible to enter the 2020 competition as it is open to those who are training or who have qualified during the year.
Jayden says he “fell” into butchery. “I had an after-school job as a clean up boy in a butchery and decided I enjoyed the trade. I did go to university for a bit, but I left and decided to go back and train as a butcher. I really enjoy the gourmet side of butchery, adding value and being creative,” he says.
Jayden is Countdown’s butchery manager Paul Mason’s 23rd apprentice, and he is keen to recruit another now that Jayden has just qualified. “I’m looking at bringing another apprentice on with Competenz. My motto is ‘hire for attitude, train for skill’. I enjoy providing a positive workplace environment and standing back and watching them blossom. I think Jayden won the Emerging Talent award because he gives everything. For him, nothing is a problem and he doesn’t take anything for granted. He’s a lovely guy and has a very good skill level.”
Paul adds that just to compete in the competition is a magnificent effort. “They have to beat other butchers in tasks under the glare of cameras, do an interview with the judges and an exam. It’s huge. But Jayden was up to the task. He’s very level headed for a young guy.”
Competenz Account Manager Rob Prins has supported Jayden throughout his apprenticeship and couldn’t be prouder of his award. “Jayden is a fantastic guy,” says Rob. “He’s highly skilled and highly motivated. He wants to do well and succeed. He’s also very fortunate that Paul is an outstanding butcher so he’s been trained by the best. But he also put in a lot of effort.”
Jayden says he had “no expectations” about winning the competition. “At the time I was running the butchery so it was really busy and I didn’t have much time to practice. But I did a lot of mental preparation. I went in without any expectations and gave it my best shot so I was shocked when I won the award. It was awesome."
Jayden is well known at Countdown for his singing prowess. “I’ve been in musical theatre all my life and do a lot of performing. I’m the dancing and singing butcher. I sing in the butchery all the time! I definitely recommend doing an apprenticeship in butchery. There are jobs all over the world and many different paths you can take. It’s a fantastic career.”
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