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Head Judge - Keith Fisher

I’m looking forward to seeing excellence shine through, whether a product is traditionally-made following a centuries old recipe, or innovative and creative...

Keith Fisher

Company - Institute of Meat

Keith has worked within the meat industry for all of his working life and is a fourth-generation butcher in his family. He began his career working in an abattoir at the tender age of fifteen. Over the last fifty years, he has accrued an incomparable level of expertise in the meat industry. We are delighted he will be sharing some of his knowledge with our illustrious judging panel next March.

Meet our Head Judge, Keith Fisher…

Having worked in sausage production factories and retail butchery, Keith joined the Meat and Livestock Commission (MLC) as a Junior back in 1974. In the role of Product Development Manager, he pioneered alternative cutting techniques such as ‘Lamb Valentine Steaks’ and ‘Mini Roasting Joints’ to suit modern consumer tastes. Keith was Master Butcher Advisor at AHDB Pork until his retirement in 2016 and has been Chief Executive at The Institute of Meat since 2010. Keith is well-placed to lead our judging panel. As an Advisor and Judge for the World Steak Challenge since its inception, he takes judging seriously and always advocates for constructive feedback.

What will be at the forefront of your mind during your role as Head Judge of the first-ever World Charcuterie Awards?

First and foremost, to ensure the judges are fully briefed and understand the rules and regulations to ensure an exact and fair “job” is done. Also, it’s so important they provide useful feedback and information to the entrants to let them know how they’ve done, where there’s room for improvement and to encourage participation in the future.

What do you hope the World Charcuterie Awards will do for the meat industry in a broader sense?

To stimulate knowledge, understanding and demand for a wider variety of quality Charcuterie products.

I advise Producers when entering, taste and taste… again and again.

How do you define an exceptional Charcuterie product?

It must fulfil all the important criteria by which we judge. They are appearance & aroma, mouth-feel and texture (how it is when biting into it, and as you chew), and how it tastes. Taste is broken down into front and back flavours and the length of flavour as you chew. Some aspects are more important and therefore are awarded more points. An exceptional product will excel in all areas.

What are you most excited about with regard to the awards next March?

As the Awards are about celebrating excellence, I’m looking forward to seeing excellence shine through whether a product is traditionally-made following a centuries-old recipe or innovative and creative.

Have you any advice for those thinking of entering?

A surprising number of producers don’t taste their products! I advise that when entering, taste and taste… again and again. And not just the makers, but the family, staff, and even customers, to get valuable feedback. Look for when a product is mature, and in optimum condition for eating and always check for consistency both within a batch and over the months and years of that product.
Good luck!


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