REALITY TV star Grant McClusky has reflected on failing to cut it in the final of the Young Butcher of the Year show.
Grant, 24, was the first of the four challengers for the big prize to be ousted from the programme’s climax, screened last week on BBC3.
And while the Hawick-born meat man admits he was nervous under the scrutiny of the cameras and the no-nonsense judges, he told TheSouthern this week he had failed to give of his best because he was “preoccupied” with concerns about his business.
When the denouement of the competition was filmed over two days in Suffolk in September, Grant was proprietor of the long-established Selkirk butchers of T. Kerr and Son in Tower Street.
“Let’s just say I’m a better butcher than I am a businessman and I found it hard to concentrate on the television show because I was preoccupied with my shop, which was struggling,” admitted Grant.
“I could actually ill afford to take the time off. As one of 25 young hopefuls shortlisted from an original entry of more than 500, I’d already been to Manchester for skill tests and interviews for the programme.”
It came as no great surprise to Grant when, shortly after losing out on the small screen, he called it a day in Selkirk.
The business is now successfully run by award-winning St Boswells butcher Craig Douglas.
In the TV show, Grant was up against Lloyd Tucker, 24, from Somerset, Matt Hill, 20, from Oxfordshire, and Bryce Lawson, 23, from County Durham.
The background pieces on the protagonists highlighted the fact Grant was the only one to have his own shop.
They also revealed how he and his partner had suffered the trauma of losing their 10-day-old daughter to bowel disease earlier this year.
The finalists were first given an hour to break down a side of pork into as many high value and attractive cuts as possible. The quartet were then charged to make the perfect pork pie.
Judges Justin Preston and David Lishman commended the general standard, but criticised Grant for generating too much waste from his half-pig and for using olive oil, rather than lard, in his pie pastry.
Tucker went on to win the competition, one of a series of BBC3 talent contests for young artisans, including fishmongers, beauticians and hairdressers, aged 18-25.
Now back at Shaw’s Fine Meats in Lauder, where he worked after serving his four-year apprenticeship with George Lees in Yetholm, Grant remains determined to pit his skills against other butchers.
He has twice been a finalist, in 2007 and 2009, in the Scottish Young Butcher of the Year Awards.
And next year he intends going for the Scottish Meat Federation’s biennial Butcher of the Year competition, having made the shortlist last year.
“I didn’t do myself justice on the TV show and know I could have done much better,” he told us. “I’m in a far better place emotionally and physically right now.”