Gary Simpson could soon be beefing up his trophy collection with the ultimate accolade of Britain’s Best Butcher’s Shop 2015, which is awarded by Meat Trades Journal and recognised as the highest award to win in the industry.
The first generation butcher now operates six stores across Lincolnshire and it is his flagship shop in Heckington that is in the running for the national title of the competition run by the Meat Trades Journal. It won the Midlands and East of England Butcher’s Shop of the Year in 2013, again in 2014 and is a finalist for the 2015 prize. If successful again Simpsons will compete against winners from the five other UK regions for the national title to be declared at the awards ceremony on November 12 in Leeds.
Gary feels the Heckington store stands a great chance as it underwent a complete refit this earlier this year, which included a state-of-the art dry-aging cabinet and ultra quiet and efficient refrigeration units to store the wide range of products for which Simpsons is renowned.
“I think it now represents what Simpsons has achieved and how we wanted to be perceived – as a modern and innovative butchers, but one that uses butchering techniques passed down through the ages,” said Gary.
He is particularly proud as he came to butchering with no family background in the trade and he is successfully passing on his skills to a new generation including James Taylor, who has been entered in the Young Butcher of the Year category for the first time and has made the final three. The competition requires all entrants be under the age of 23 and19-year-old James has been training with Gary for three years. His nomination underlines Simpsons’ commitment to young people in the industry and giving them the skills to succeed.