World Butchers Challenge, did you go?

world butchers challenge logo show on large screen at golden 1 center

For the first time in the short history of this unique event, the World Butchers Challenge (WBC) had its chance to come to America. After 2 years of Covid related delays the event originally slated for September of 2020 finally took place on September 2nd, 2022.

How did the WBC land in Sacramento?

I’m sure there are several blog posts and youtube videos that present the history of the World Butchers Challenge in detail. We’re going to forgo that and focus on this recent event.

So how did the US get to host and why Sacramento? The answer comes down to one name Danny Johnson.

danny johnson at his place of business taylor's market

Danny had participated in past WBC events and wanted to organize a bid to get it moved into the US. The bid was secured with the help of Visit Sacramento and the Golden 1 Center. Danny Johnson would go on to serve as Team USA’s captain for 2022.

Martini Equipment was first approached by Danny at the process expo in 2019 and before he could finish his pitch, we were all in. We knew that promoting what I call the noble profession (butchery) was a priority. It was important for us to tell young up-and-comers in the field, that its more than ok to be a butcher. It is necessary for people to have locals in their community that they can trust for food related choices and options.

small group of people standing beside dry aging machine and smoke oven
How did the WBC unfold?

There were 2 days of events showcasing the talents of butcher apprentices (solo) and main butcher team competitions. Unfortunately for the entire event the attendance was very poor for the size of the venue. This was really a shame as the apprentices and butchers did unbelievable work in the short time they had. It really is hard to imagine if not seen with your own eyes. Imagine being in a butcher shop with empty display cabinets and your job is to fill them with pork, lamb, and beef in 4 hours. Oh, and by the way, be creative and make it as decorative as possible.

Who won?

The short answer is

1st place “The Wolfpack” Team Germany

group of people representing Team Germany the wolfpack

2nd place Team Australia

Group of people representing Team Australia

3rd place Team New Zealand

group of people representing Team New Zealand

These 3 were the winners of the big prize at the end of the night. But there were several categories celebrating many other individual talents.

What impression did we take away from all of this?

Going back to the attendance, for effort and organization that went into the event, it was sad to see so few show up. Family members of those competing made up the majority of people who did come to support their countries. It also didn’t help that the event was held on Labor Day weekend. I’m not sure if marketing played a factor in all this. But I do know people like Chef Brian Poclyn only found out about the event through us. In Chef Poclyn’s words “chefs need to know about this event, they would come from anywhere to see it”. Americans made up the majority of attendees. Travel restrictions did prevent 2 teams from participating in the WBC event.

Let’s focus on the positive

It was great to meet up with old friends from Italy, UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Along with, getting the chance to meet so many new men and women serving in the noble profession. People who dedicate their lives to a job that, not many other are cut out for, has virtually no glamor or fame, and is now sometimes frowned upon for its involvement of animals.

Patrick Martini standing beside Chef Brian PoclynAward Plaque from World Butchers Challenge2. italian men standing on either side of Dry Ager

The gala dinner that followed the event was an amazing experience. This is where the winners in all categories were announced and celebrated. We were more than happy for all who participated, showcased their skill, dedication, and of course for those who won. Even if Team USA didn’t come out on top, we celebrated the hard work they put in. Team captain Danny Johnson was celebrated for his effort in pushing to have this event land in his home of Sacramento. Riki Kerekere captain of Team New Zealand presented Danny with the gift of a Pounamu stone. The Pounamu stone has traditionally meant to symbolize status, peace or promote healing. In this instance the gift was meant to form a bond between the two people, teams and nations.


It was one of the most interesting and unique events we have taken part in.

So would we sponsor again? Absolutely!


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