Farm to fork is a common term in relation to the provenance of our food but when it comes to the importance of locally produced meat, the newly crowned UK Young Butcher of the Year is well placed to support this concept.

Robert Graham, a butcher with Keith Moore Meats in Ballinamallard, was announced the winner of this coveted title at an online ceremony on Monday evening.

A son of Alan and Helen Graham, from Knockmanowl, Ballinamallard, Robert has the background knowledge of everyday farming as well as honing his skills as a craft butcher.

Family farm

He helps out on the family farm with his parents and brother, Stephen and this week as customers to the butcher’s shop called in to congratulate him, he had arrived at work after helping with lambing during the night as well as trying to grasp the enormity of winning this prestigious award.

Robert began his career in butchery having served his apprenticeship with Nixon’s of Tempo and once qualified, continued to innovate with some product lines.


Moving to Keith Moore Meats a year ago at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Robert has been a busy member of staff as demand for fresh, local food became a priority for many consumers based at home.

Speaking this week, Robert said he was trying to comprehend winning the award, especially as it was a national title.

Good knowledge

“I think it helped that I had a good knowledge of farming. I’ve been doing my shift at lambing and milking some evenings.

I made the connection with the judges of the importance of farm to fork and our meat could not be more local,” said Robert delighted with his success.

Among the questions which Robert had to answer included;

- Why you became a butcher?

- Where you see your career heading over the next five years?

- Which area of your working life you enjoy most? and what area, if any, you consider yourself to particularly excel at or specialise in?

- Why you deserve to be named Young Butcher of the Year? listing any qualifications/training/awards gained to date.

Robert’s employer, Keith Moore, said the award reflected very well on Robert’s work in butchery.

“He’s been a great asset as we are a small team. There’s been nothing but praise for him,” he added.

There were a dozen awards presented with butcher’s shops and personnel from all parts of the United Kingdom vying for titles.

12 categories

For 26 years, Butcher’s Awards has endorsed and supported independent butchers – their service, craft skills and quality products.

There were12 categories to enter and the Awards provided a national platform for positive media attention – whether a family run independent butchers in a rural location or a chain of outlets.

The Butcher’s Awards take pride in the integrity of the two-phase judging process ; first is a paper judging via a panel of industry experts and then finalists are visited by mystery shoppers in store.

The organisers said the judges were blown away this year by the level of quality, innovation and excellence on show. They had an extremely difficult task in selecting the winners.