Lewis helps Cowell claim Sausage King crown

FORMER Mallala lad, Lewis Helps, is cutting and carving his way to the climax of his career at Cowell, after recently claiming the crown as Australia’s Sausage King.
Lewis, the son of Bevan and Michelle Helps of Mallala and brother of Eliza and Russell, completed his apprenticeship at Two Wells before moving over to the Eastern Eyre Peninsula with his partner about four years
The 25-year-old co-manages Our Butcher @ Cowell with good mate, Alex Klingberg, 22.
The young lads topped the Australian Meat Industry Council’s Sausage King competition in the Australian Lamb/Open category with a lamb, feta and sundried tomato product.
In doing so, they claimed victory over more than 3200 independent butchers across the country.
The competition is judged by a combination of chefs, former butchers and industry leaders.
Judges critique each product’s raw presentation, how it looks cooked and then flavour when cooked.
“It is all judged anonymously so nothing is labelled but we knew which product was ours and there were a lot of judges saying ‘that’s nice’, so we got a fair gauge on what they thought,” Lewis said.
The Our Butcher @ Cowell pair also jagged a runner up gong in the Gourmet/Open class for their Merguez product, a spicy French sausage inspired by a recipe found in an old cookbook.
Lewis said the co-managers work hard on their product development.
“Alec and I will come up with ideas, make it and just continue tweaking it batch to batch until we think we’ve got it right,” he said.
Lewis hoped to continue forging a reputation around the competition in a similar manner to Mathie’s Meats are Clare, which became notorious for its success on the national stage.
The success has also been a morale boost for the Cowell community, with locals getting right around the boys and the butcher business.
“Everything really picked up after we won at state level,” Lewis said.
“We’ve had a lot of customers coming in and congratulating us, there have been a lot of handshakes flying around town, that’s for sure.
“All our lamb is locally sourced, a vast majority of our beef is too, so we support local producers as much as we possibly can.”
Competitors start in the regional competition, where the Cowell team won through over entries from the Eyre Peninsula, Mid North and Yorke Peninsula.
They then topped the charts in the state finals last year and rounded that out with success at the nationals.
“It is very exciting, we never expected to go that far,” Lewis said.
“The whole process has been an eye-opener for us, we’ve set the bar high for ourselves but we’ll have another shot in all six different categories next year and keep trying to improve.”
In somewhat obvious fashion, Lewis has also jagged the nickname ‘Snags’.
“I picked that up as soon as I moved here,” he laughed.
“It’s pretty typical of a small country town, everyone has a nickname here.”