There’s a reason I buy my meat at Whole Foods Market, it’s not just the gorgeousness of the market. Or the fact that I love the deli section, or that everything in the display cases looks as if it’s been placed by a meticulous artist. I could go on and on about the cheese area and the perfect produce, but then we would never get to the meat section….
Tuesday I was in Whole Foods Market in Pasadena for a Best Butcher Competition. I watched as 8 butcher’s from the southern pacific region cut and displayed their meats with such accurate craftsmanship, sophistication and speed!
The defending champion was said to be the favorite but a different butcher who had humbleness on his side and skill in his hands won my vote right away. I walked around photographing the skilled butchers and talking to the judges. Before I knew it, their 30 minutes of allotted time was up and the competition was over. I credited myself for picking my own favorite early in the game, the butcher I was rooting for won! Rafa Rodriguez is the champion of the Southern Pacific Region. Here’s a photo of him going over his work with the judges.
Rafa will now move on to the next phase in the competition. 11 different regions of Whole Foods markets will move on to Portland, Oregon July 21st to compete in the semifinals against the regional champions from Northern California and Pacific Northwest!
Three butchers will emerge victorious from the national semifinals and will move on to compete at Meatopia, the nation’s largest celebration of meat, on Sept. 8 in New York City.
Whole Foods Market’s quality standards for meat include no antibiotics – ever, no added hormones, and no animal byproducts in feed. All of the beef, pork and chicken sold in Whole Foods Market’s meat department comes from farms and ranches that are certified to Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating program. There’s my reason for buying my meat at Whole Foods!
A photo diary from the competition: