Age: 28

Nowadays, traditional butcher shops are not as common on the high street as they used to be, but this is something 28-year-old Chris Wright from Lerwick is passionate about keeping alive.

As a butcher at Anderson Butchers in Lerwick in Shetland, Chris is normally the first face customers see when they walk into the shop.

After suffering from depression as a teenager, Chris joined Anderson’s as an apprentice when he was 25 – something which was, he believes, a real saving grace.

“Butchery was something just fell into but taking on this challenge was a major part of my recovery and it was something I had to really focus on.

“I managed to finish my apprenticeship in two and a half years – gaining my Diploma in Butchery. This was a real eye opener and really made me feel appreciated in the trade.”

While undertaking his apprenticeship, Chris was named Apprentice of the Year 2015 in the Scottish Meat Training Awards.

“I’m really lucky to be working in an industry I absolutely love. The passion in the trade is unbelievable and it’s completely infectious. I keep meeting people that just have so much drive and creativity, and no matter how deep I delve into the foodie community, it still surprises me.

“It’s this passion that makes me want to push myself harder and work at a higher level.”

Happiest when chatting to customers and giving them tips on making sure they make the best of their chosen cuts of meats, Chris will be responsible for organising the Anderson Butchers stall at the Taste of Shetland Food Fair in October after cooking live on stage at last year’s event.

In addition to working in the shop day-to-day, Chris is always looking for new and eye-catching ways of attracting customers to come along the shop – mostly using his impressive social media skills. He has created his own Instagram page, @reelmaetshetland, which has 550 followers, as well as launching his own cooking blog, www.reelmaetshetland.com.

“I think in some cases people are perhaps a bit scared to go into a butchers as they don’t know how to cook the meat we sell. It’s important for me to provide advice and help so the photos I take for my Instagram page and blog are of the produce we sell and the dishes I create.”

Chris has put his innovative mind to work by creating a range of Lean Meat packs and value-added products which are very popular with customers.

Having had a range of jobs in the past, Chris truly believes he has found his niche.

“Butchery was a real shift in my direction for me, but very welcomed at the time. I wish I had got into the industry a lot earlier, though, because I love what I do so much now – I have never had such a passion for a job before.

“For me, it’s the diversity we have in the food and drink industry in Scotland which keeps me really excited and passionate. There are so many producers of so many different beautiful products. I also love the fact that there are so many hidden gems of produce all over Scotland – such as The Cake Fridge here in Shetland, literally on the roadside!”

 

With 2018 the Year of Young People, Chris believes it’s more important than ever for more young people to think about a career in the food and drink industry.

“I think it’s really important to get more young people interested in the food industry for many reasons. For one, today’s young people really are the future and will take over from us one day. They will be able to have a totally different take and mindset on the industry once they learn the trades and make it their own.

“I also believe there is a total disregard of where food comes from now and having younger people involved will help drive the education that is so sorely needed in some places.”

Chris’ #ScotFoodGoals are really to help promote Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight, allowing all food and drink producers to shout about their products and making sure they are all heard as equals. Chris is working hard to make his sector of the food industry more transparent for customers so they actually see a group of hard working, innovative, intelligent people working to make amazing produce for the whole world to try and adore.

“As for my own personal career aspirations, I want to enter competitions in the UK and try and take it further into the World Stage. I want to showcase Shetland and Scotland if possible. I also want to run my own business at some point – making my own produce and making my own mark on the industry.”