Pelham meat cutter makes finals in national competition
By CHLOE ALLEN / Special to the Reporter
PELHAM – When it comes to the perfect quality of meat, professional butcher Gustavo Jimenez, 28, of Pelham is a bona-fide expert. From cutting steaks on the frigid ice in New York’s Rockefeller Center to matching up against more than a hundred of the nation’s best meat cutters, it’s safe to say that Jimenez has his work, literally, cut out for him.
Jimenez has traveled to every corner of the country and has competed in the Texas Roadhouse National Meat Cutting Competition for several years and was crowned the National Champion in 2013.
His latest competition took place on Feb. 24and 25 were Jimenez faced off against 94 professional meat cutters in the two-day event in Orlando, Fla. Each participant was given 40 pounds of beef, which included two sirloins, one tenderloin or filet and one ribeye.
The butchers are judged on their ability to cut and yield as many steaks of the highest quality in a timed “ Cut-Off.”
“We have specifications for each type of meat, like the length, the width and weight,” Jimenez said.
Whoever cuts the most steaks with the highest quality with little to no waste in the least amount of time advances to the finals. The competition was narrowed on the first day, dropping the participants from 94 meat cutters to 30. The final 30 then clashed in a no-restrictions competition, resulting in 10 participants advancing to the final round. Jimenez clenched his finalist spot on the last day of the competition.
Jimenez is no stranger to these matchups as well as the preparation that goes into competing in them. With nine years of working with the Texas Roadhouse restaurant, as well as eight years of meat cutting under his belt, it’s no surprise that he is a returning finalist.
“I work everyday; about 40 to 50 hours a week and we cut about 1,500 pounds of meat a week,” Jimenez said.
The winner will be announced at the Texas Roadhouse Annual Conference and be named the Texas Roadhouse Cutter of the Year on April 13in Phoenix, Ariz.