- Associated Press - Thursday, February 18, 2016

MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) - Juan Calderon loves his job.

That’s probably why he’s good at it. For the last five years, he’s served as a professional butcher at Texas Roadhouse in Muskegon, but next month he will have a chance to put his skills to the test on a much larger scale.

Calderon will be competing against 107 professional meat cutters from around the United States at a national meat cutting competition. The event will be held at The Ice Factory in Kissimmee, Fla. on March 8-9.

“I’m super excited,” he told The Muskegon Chronicle ( http://bit.ly/1R6IbsW ). “I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”

Calderon, 37, has been working in the restaurant business since he was 19, but he’s been cutting meat for about seven years. He qualified for the national competition by winning a regional competition held in Detroit. He is one of three butchers from Michigan who will be competing in Florida in March.

Calderon said he loves his job because every day is different and he can take a hands-on approach to preparing food.

“I make my own decisions,” he said. “I’ve been in other restaurants and I’ve had some bad experiences so that’s why I push myself to get better. I try to do it right and I try to do it fast.”

The national competition, which takes place on an ice rink to keep the meat cold, begins with three regional semifinal rounds on March 8. Meat cutters have an hour and half to make a wide variety of cuts, including sirloin, filet and ribeye.

The top 30 meat cutters then advance before the field is narrowed down to the final 10. The winner will be crowned Texas Roadhouse Meat Cutter of the Year and awarded $20,000 at a conference in Miami on April 10.

Calderon has been practicing the cuts during slow periods at the restaurant. He likes his chances.

“I’m really good with my knives,” he said. “And my hands are really fast.”

He will be traveling south with his general manager in what will be his first visit to Florida.

“It’s going to be awesome,” he added. “I can’t wait.”

___

Information from: The Muskegon Chronicle, http://www.mlive.com/muskegon

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide