Team USA, with local butcher Danny Johnson at the helm, is traveling to Northern Ireland in March to take part in the biennial World Butchers’ Challenge. This is the first time that newcomer USA will compete in this arena and the stakes are high.
The team—made up of Johnson and Paul Carras of Taylor’s Market in Land Park, along with four other skilled butchers from around the U.S.—will compete against 11 countries at the Titanic Exhibition Centre in Belfast on March 21. France, the reigning champ, might be the team to beat, but Johnson says their competitors are worried about what the U.S. can do. Team USA has asked for and received some rule changes. “We have them scratching their heads,” he says.
Writer Jenn Rice described the WBC “as the butcher industry’s Summer Olympic Games” in Food and Wine. Despite the hyperbole, the event has gravitas in the meat business. “This thing is a big deal for Paul and I, and for Sacramento,” Johnson says. “[It’s] the opportunity to do something in your trade on another continent.”