Win A Trip to Meet Our Best Butchers at Meatopia

Their talent is rare; their job is well done. For the last few months, butchers from our stores across the nation have competed to see who will make the cut and become Whole Foods Market’s 2nd annual Best Butcher.This Saturday, 11 regional champions will converge on Denver, Portland and Washington, D.C. for national semifinals events. The Best Butcher contest is a fierce battle of craft, yield and merchandising. Only the top finisher in each semifinal competition will be rewarded with victory…and a trip to the national Best Butcher finals, September 8 at Meatopia in New York City!

Our butchers aren’t the only winners; we’ve teamed up with Thrillist to reward a lucky, meat lover with a trip for two to Meatopia (air travel, hotel, VIP treatment – you’ll be top dog). Click here or read on to find out how to enter to win.

With the national title of “Best Butcher” at stake, the three butchers that make it to the finals at Meatopia will not only will have to efficiently and accurately cut and merchandise the meat from various primals, but they’ll also have to create a new cut – a steak, chop or roast the world has never seen before. (The winner’s new cut will be on sale exclusively at Whole Foods Market starting September 15.)


Butchery is an art, and the Whole Foods Market® meat teams genuinely respect the traditions of the trade. We invest in our butchers and have trained butchers in every single store, which really sets us apart. In addition to regular training for the meat department, we offer an apprenticeship program to help new meat cutters learn the ins and outs of butchery. This competition both celebrates these highly regarded in-house butchers and puts the spotlight on butchery — a pursuit that takes a high degree of skill and years of experience to master.

We see this event as a great way to place an emphasis on where our meat comes from. It’s often easy to forget that the burger, steak or drumstick on your plate was once an animal. How was that animal raised? How was it treated? Where did it come from? What about added hormones and antibiotics? Was its growth artificially accelerated to get to market sooner and reduce feed cost? How can we use all of the animal rather than having parts go to waste? We know some people choose not to eat meat and that’s fine. But if you do, we think that the more you know about our meat, the better.

Whole Foods Market’s quality standards for meat include no antibiotics – ever, no added hormones*, and no animal byproducts in feed. All of the beef, pork and chicken sold in Whole Foods Market’s meat department comes from farms and ranches that are certified to Global Animal Partnership’s 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating system.


Love beef? Passionate about pork? Thrillistthe free daily email that sifts through the junk to find the best of what’s new in your ‘hood – and Whole Foods Market are sending a few lucky winners to New York’s Meatopia on September 8 to cheer on our top butchers at the finals, enjoy live music and dine on meat prepared by great chefs including Michael White (Marea), Michael Psilakis (Kefi), Aaron Franklin (Franklin’s BBQ) and Naomi Pomeroy (Beast). Enter to win on the Thrillist site.

No matter how you cut it; these 11 US regional champions are some of the most skilled butchers in the business. We honor these Whole Foods Market butchers, whose skills are as sharp as their blades:




Rocky Mountain: Andy “The Animal” Alcorn

30 years as a butcher, nine of them with Whole Foods Market.

Favorite cut: Sirloin flap steak  




Northern California: John “Kabali” Kalabolas

10 years as a butcher, five of them with Whole Foods Market

Favorite cut: ribeye steak  




Florida: Robert “Da Bull” Duran

25 years as a butcher, five months with Whole Foods Market

Favorite cut: Ribeye




South: Soua "The Master Blaster" Yang

Seven years as a butcher, six of them with Whole Foods Market

Favorite cut: Ribeye




North Atlantic: Joey "Meat Hooks" Malito

36 years as a butcher

Favorite cut: Porterhouse




Northeast: Armand "The Arm" Ferrante

40 years as a butcher, one of them with Whole Foods Market

Favorite cut: New York Strip



Pacific Northwest: Nate "Nate Dog" Hornbeak

17 years as a butcher, eight of them with Whole Foods Market

Favorite cut: Bone-in Ribeye




Southern Pacific: Rafa "The Legend" Rodriguez37 years as a butcher, 27 of them with Whole Foods Market

Favorite cut: Ribeye




Midwest: Frank "The Tank" Danielczyk

42 years as a butcher, five of them with Whole Foods Market

Favorite cut: New York Strip




Southwest: Tim “Big Hands” Hagele

8 years as a butcher, two of them with Whole Foods Market

Favorite cut: Ribeye




Mid Atlantic: Larry "Big Man" Mola

20 years as a butcher, 10 of them with Whole Foods Market

Favorite cut: Ribeye



If you’re in the Denver, Portland and Washington, D.C. area this Saturday, join us and cheer on your favorite store butcher. Reach out to your local store for event details.

Make sure to visit Thrillist for a chance to win a trip to the finals at Meatopia in September! This is trip will be a cut above the rest.

Is your local butcher headed to the heated semifinals this weekend? If so, send him your best wishes in the comments section below.  

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