An award winning butchers as added another accolade to its expanding haul.
Nicholsons Butchers, in Whitley Bay, struck gold in the Butchers Q Guild Smithfield Awards – viewed as one of the toughest product evaluation tests and held aloft as the Guild’s annual ‘Oscars’.
The Park View shop claimed a gold award with its Mexican Chicken Kitchen Ready Product.
Catherine Nicholson said: “This product was developed at the beginning of 2016.
“We do a lot of breaded chicken products and we wanted to do something new and exciting.
“It is chicken breast with fajita-style spices in the middle and spicy crumbs on the outside. It is selling really well.”
Winners were announced at a ceremony in Ironmongers Hall, London, presented by British food writer and food critic Tom Parker Bowles.
Open to the Q Guild’s 123 members, the 2017 Smithfield Awards attracted a record entry of almost 600 individual products, from 61 butcher businesses.
Tom Parker Bowles told the butchers: “A town or city without a proper butcher is town without a heart.
“But all of you here today are masters of meat, heroes of the haunch, legends of the lamb chop.
“Now this might not be or seem like a glamorous job, but we love you for it.
“What would we do without you? Great butchers are no mere make or trade.
“It is a part, a passion, a labour of love, a community hub.”
Alnwick butcher Mark Turnbull, national chairman of the Q Guild, said: “The record response this year was absolutely amazing and reinforced the Guild’s decision to change the Smithfield Awards format and make the awards early in the year.
“This year’s presentation event also attracted a record attendance.
“The new format allows all winners to promote their products and their businesses for a full 11 months within the current year of the awards, which – supported by special promotional packs presented to all gold award winners – will, we feel, prove an extremely potent and effective marketing tool.
“In addition, many entrants also tell us that the judges’ feedback proves invaluable in helping them not only to enhance their own Smithfield Award products, but also develop and launch even more successful ones after networking and sharing ideas with other members, which remains key to the Q Guild’s ethos.”