By Mollie Tracey
You’d be forgiven for thinking stunning Elsie Yardley worked as a model – but the gutsy 23-year-old is carving out a career as Britain’s next top BUTCHER.
While she spends the weekend glammed up and clubbing with pals, her working days are spent carving up carcasses.
Elsie Yardley, 23, from Braintree in Essex, qualified as a butcher when she was 20 years old – and took home HALF of all the awards at this year’s Premier Young Butcher of the Year.
Whilst her friends accepted jobs as teachers and beauticians, Elsie concentrated on achieving the perfect cut of beef – and she’s already won awards for her carving skills.
She admits that the reactions she receives from the public can be a little mixed, but most people are intrigued by her unusual job choice.
In the future Elsie hopes to start her own business, and would even consider working in an abattoir.
Elsie said: “To me butchery is just the norm, it’s only when my friends come into the shop and are squeamish that I realise how different my job actually is.
“Most of the time I receive a positive reaction, where I work it’s mostly women that come into the shop and so it’s nice to have a chat about cooking.
“The older generation can go one of two ways, sometimes they often look behind me or straight through me to find the man to cut the meat.
“I don’t think they realise that it’s just me in the shop and that I am in fact more than capable of cutting the meats myself.
“Younger generations are typically more accepting, people are actually quite intrigued by what I do.
“I’m definitely still girly and I wouldn’t class myself as a tomboy, even though my job is stereo-typically male.
“My girlfriends and I love to dress up for a night out, I’m just a typical 23-year-old.
“The only thing I can’t do is get my nails done because of handling the meats, but that doesn’t bother me.
“I think that once you start this job it’s hard to do anything else, I don’t think I would quite suit an office job now.
“But I wouldn’t mind working on a farm or abattoir, I would be really interested by that.”
After finishing an art and design course at college, Elsie turned her hand to butchery, and hasn’t looked back since.
She added: “I started as a Saturday girl when I was 18, I was just working part time whilst I was at college trying to earn some money.
“I have always been interested in cooking and so I think that’s what first interested me in the beginning.
“The butchers I work at is very traditional, we receive whole carcases from that abattoir that we have to breakdown.
“Whether it’s turning the cuts into bacon, sausages, roasting joints I prepare it all in store.
“Each day is different depending on the orders that we have but I always prepare the window display and lay out the fresh cuts of meat and hang up the carcases.
“People often assume that my boss is my dad as they don’t understand why else I would be working there, they assume it’s a family business but of course that isn’t the case.
“In fact no one else in my family are butchers, I’m the first.
“My boyfriend is really supportive, he loves his food, especially steak, so he loves it when I come home with good cuts of meat.”
Elsie was entered into the Premier Young Butcher of the Year awards and took home three out of a possible six trophies.
Elsie said: “It was an amazing experience, I was entered the year before but at that point I wasn’t quite ready.
“This time around I put my all into it and it really paid off.
“You are judged on a range of skills from your style of working to cleanliness and presentation.
“Innovation is also key to doing well, people are always looking for new and exciting ideas.
“I am really passionate about butchery, I think it’s so important that the high street thrives and at the minute it’s doing just that.
“One day I would love to have my own shop, and maybe when I am more experienced I would like to have my own van.”