Sunday, July 21, 2024

Steaks are high

Recent stories

Kirstin Nicholson, The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper

Turn back the clock three years and Cassidy Bullock was unaware that her life path was about to take a different direction. Cassidy was living and working in Echuca but lost her job at the start of the pandemic, so she moved to Kerang to join her boyfriend and began the search for new employment.

To her surprise, she found herself as an apprentice butcher at Cohuna Butchers, a field she had never considered before. Now in the third year of her apprenticeship, 24-year-old Cassidy was encouraged by her trade school teacher to enter the Victorian Apprentice of the Year competition run by the Australian Meat Industry Council.

The competition was held at William Angliss Institute in Melbourne on October 4 with 15 other apprentice butchers and involved two practical components and a 45-minute written assessment on general knowledge, meat safety and health and safety.

The first of the practical assessments saw the apprentices break down half a lamb and a saddle of pork following specific instructions, with presentation key. The second practical component was a mystery box challenge. Each box contained a rump, a leg of lamb and vegetables, and apprentices had two hours to make as many products as possible, with display taken into account.

Three judges critiqued the apprentices on criteria including hygiene, knife safety, knife sharpness, and presentation.

“I feel good. I did a good job and I’m proud of what I did,” said Cassidy. “It was a good experience and got me out of my comfort zone. It doesn’t bother me if I don’t win, I’m just glad I did something like that.

“I was so nervous – it was very nerve wracking. A lot of them were Melbourne butchers, so they were a bit more fancy than a small town butcher. It was a really good experience. At least I can say that I went and tried.”

In what is a male dominated industry, Cassidy is one of a growing number of females entering the trade. She enjoys the work and says it is also handy when it comes to her family’s on-farm butchering needs.

“It’s very handy to have, very handy to know what to do. When I tell people I do it, everyone thinks it’s so cool. It’s something different; you get to be creative, it’s nice.”

Cassidy waits patiently for the results, which will be announced on November 12 at an awards dinner.

The Koodrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper 20 October 2022

This article appeared in The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper, 20 October 2022.


Sign up for updates from Australian Rural & Regional News

Manage your subscription

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

For all the news from The Koondrook and Barham Bridge Newspaper, go to