Local professional butchers compete on ice for $20,000 prize

Online Staff Report

When area meat-cutters hit the rink at Rockford’s Riverview Ice House, 325 N. Madison St., they won’t need skates or hockey sticks to score. To prove they’re a cut above the competition, eight professional meat-cutters will compete on the ice in the first round of the A1 National Meat Cutting Challenge.

Competition is Friday, Nov. 22, from 10 to 11:30 a.m., with a $10 lunch at 11:30 a.m. The lunch includes a hand-cut steak and two made-from-scratch side dishes from Texas Roadhouse. All lunch proceeds benefit the Junior Ice Hogs Youth Hockey Program.

Each competitor will receive 30 to 40 pounds of beef, consisting of two sirloins, one filet and one ribeye to cut. Meat cutters are judged on quality, yield and speed in this timed “cut-off.” The winner is the cutter who yields the most steaks, with the highest quality cut in the least amount of time. To assure the best, freshest quality meat, all cutting is done at a chilly 38 degrees.

Two challengers will advance to the second round, where they’ll compete for the opportunity to participate in the 2014 national competition April 27 at Amelia Island, Fla. The winner of the national competition receives a grand prize of $20,000 and is crowned Meat Cutter of the Year.

The National Meat Cutters Challenge is the only competition of its kind and includes meat cutters from across the nation,” said Jamie Degan, Texas Roadhouse local store marketing coach. “The competition instills passion, integrity and pride — all necessary traits to be successful. This year, we are lucky to have A1 joining us in recognizing the best of the best.”

The National Meat Cutting Challenge is part of the Meat Hero program, created in 2001, to recognize daily efforts of Texas Roadhouse meat cutters. Meat cutters hand-cut each steak served at the restaurant. Their work is displayed where guests can hand-pick their steak.

Participating meat-cutters include Gene Provenzano of Rockford; Raul Ojeda of Rockford; Roman Pucheta of Joliet; Duaine Ullom of East Peoria; Ridrigo Rodrigued of Tinley; Joel Davis of Bradley; Dana Falconer of Naperville; and Cody Watson of Quincy.

For more information, visit www.texasroadhouse.com.

Posted Nov. 20, 2013

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