Ontario’s Finest Butcher 2023
Celebrating 10 Year’s Of Ontario’s Finest Butchers
This milestone event has elevated the art of butchery and showcased the remarkable skills of Ontario’s artisans throughout the past decade. Join us in honouring the craftsmanship, innovation, and local food culture that make Ontario’s Finest Butcher Competition truly exceptional.
We extend our heartfelt thanks to Halenda’s for their unwavering support as the host of the elimination round, making this competition an unforgettable experience for competitors and spectators alike.
In 2023, we’re shaking things up to make the competition even more exciting & accessible! The elimination round has found a new home at Handtmann Canada in Waterloo. We’re thrilled to introduce new competition rules including testing core competencies, the addition of veal as a protein option in the elimination round, and extending the finale to 45 minutes, giving our talented butchers more room to showcase their creativity. Plus, the prizing package for our finalists and winners is better than ever before!
Join us as we embark on a new chapter in the Ontario’s Finest Butcher Competition. It’s going to be a year of butchery excellence, thrilling challenges, and unforgettable moments.
Final Round – October 21
The top three will then proceed to the finals being held October 21 in front of a LIVE audience at the Meating Place in Muskoka. Our finalists will participate in a 30 minute competition to show-off their charming and creative selves, thinking quick on their feet, and adding value to an undisclosed protein. The winner will be announced October 21 at Meat & Poultry Ontario’s Red Carpet Gala.
Congratulations to our Top 3 Butchers moving on to the final throw down on October 21 at the Meating Place Conference in Muskoka!
Christopher McNutt – Halenda’s Meats
Christopher currently works as a Meat Manager at Halenda’s, Oshawa. He has been working at Halenda’s Meats for 15 years and brings with him 15 years meat cutting experience. He completed a Retail Meat Cutting apprenticeship program.
Dave Vandervelde – VG Meats
Dave is a second generation butcher with over 25 years of experience and a genuine passion for what he does. He currently works as a Manager at VG Meats and is a member of Canada’s World Butcher team.
Dylan is currently a butcher with a deep-rooted commitment to quality and tradition. He proudly works alongside his family at Townsend Butchers in Simcoe, where the art of butchery has been passed down through generations.
Meet The Judges
Troy Spicer, Fanshawe College
Troy grew up in the retail bakery industry, starting work at 3 AM every Saturday at the age of just 15. After high school, he worked in the bakery industry for ten years. After leaving the bakery, Troy gained considerable experience in institutional cooking and catering; went to culinary school, which tweaked a keen interest in butchery. Through these diverse experiences, he earned his Certificate of Qualifications as a Cook 415A and Retail Meat Cutter 245R and credential as a Nutrition Manager with the Canadian Society of Nutrition Managers. Now an expert butcher, baker, and cook, Troy shares his diverse skills in teaching culinary studies, nutrition, and butchery at Fanshawe College.
Peter Baarda, J&G Quality Meats
As the Captain of Team Canada, Peter brings to the table 30+ years of experience in the industry. Peter is a butcher to the true sense of the word. He learned to slaughter, break down, cut,
cure, and make sausage from 2nd and 3rd generation butchers who immigrated to Canada from the Netherlands. After 10 years of honing his skills at an abattoir, he moved on to working in and managing several high-end retail butcher shops around Ontario.
Peter has won Ontario’s Finest Butcher Competition 3 consecutive years and has gone on to judge the event. He’s been involved in several meat cutting demonstrations at various trade shows, including the Canadian Restaurant and Bar Show, the Toronto Sportsmen’s Show, and Skills Ontario. He has appeared on CH Morning Live, Good Morning Sacramento, and has been featured in many local publications.
Peter is currently the Owner/Operator of J&G Quality Meats in Burlington, Ontario. He is only the 3rd owner of this local landmark that traces its roots back to 1962, carrying on a strong tradition of quality and innovation.
Peter started Butchery Team Canada in October 2018 to showcase Canada’s butchery skills on the world stage. He competed at World Butchers’ Challenge in Sacramento, California in 2022 and is looking forward to competing in Paris, France in 2025. He feels that Canada’s food scene, with its eclectic nature, has much to offer the world and much to be proud of.
Stefan Seher, Handtmann Canada
I started to learn the trade of a Butcher at the early age of 16 when I completed my 2-week Co-Op at a local 3rd Generation Family-owned Butcher shop in Bietigheim-Bissingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.
After the successful completion of the 3-year butcher apprenticeship program, an opportunity opened to fine tune and to gain further experience in the Meat Industry by moving to Canada.
For the Last 20+ years I have gained valuable meat processing experience while working for Ashburn Foods/Siena Foods and Schneider Foods/Maple Leaf Foods. I then transitioned into the Spice Industry at Malabar Super Spice and since 2018 I’m working as the Manager of Application Technology for Handtmann Canada, a subsidiary of Handtmann Maschienen Fabrik located in Biberach, Germany. My responsibilities at Handtmann include assist the Sales & Technical Managers across Canada in selecting the correct application for processes at their customer, testing new processes and application at our State of the Art Forum in Waterloo where Handtmann can showcase many different machine and commissioning complete lines at customers across Canada. Handtmann equipment is used in Bakery, Meats, Alternate Protein, Dairy and Pet Food Sectors.
John Baker, Baker Marketing Services
John is the President of Baker Marketing Services International. BMSI provides strategic business development and planning, marketing and project implementation services to organizations and companies serving the global meat industry including the Ontario Beef Market Development program, Beef Farmers of Ontario, the Ontario Cattle Feeders Association and the Ontario Corn Fed Beef program.
John brings 40 years experience in the meat industry in domestic and international markets, his experiences include, farm to fork supply chain development, on farm Quality Assurance program development, branded beef program development in the retail and foodservice sectors, strategic planning, marketing and merchandising strategy development and results-focused program execution.
John was a meat cutter/meat dept manager for 20 years working at some of Ontario’s largest retail chains.
2022 OFBC Competition
ABOUT ONTARIO’S FINEST BUTCHER COMPETITION
Ontario’s Finest Butcher competitors begin by showcasing their technical knowledge and knife skills in an Elimination Round and the top four will proceed to the finals round in October. Our finalists will participate in a 30 minute competition to show-off their charming and creative selves, thinking quick on their feet, and adding value to an undisclosed protein. The winner will be announced LIVE following the competition.