Queensland's Sausage King the newest kid on Rocky block
HE MAY have claimed the crown as Queensland's Sausage King, but there was no time for Reg Brook to soak up the win.
Returning from competing at Brisbane's Ekka on Sunday night, Reg was back in the apron greeting customers bright and early Monday morning.
But there was a shiny new addition to the Parkhurst Quality Meats counter, which is a constant reminder to Reg just how far his little business has come in the seven months since it opened.
A big believer in finding a career which fulfils a passion, Reg was always keen to follow in his family's footsteps and branch out on his own as a butcher.
Reg had finished his apprenticeship by the time his parents sold their Rockhampton butcher shop, but being in his mid-twenties at the time owning a business wasn't something Reg wanted to take on.
After working with gourmet butchers in Brisbane, as well as with other Rockhampton businesses, Reg seized an opportunity to open in the new Parkhurst Town Centre.
"To own a butcher shop was one of my dreams," he said.
"To do something I love, the way that I'm doing it here with the gourmet style of butchering ... I really enjoy it.
"It's not work if you really enjoy it."
Despite some early technical issues, business has blossomed and now the young butcher has beaten out some of the town's best-known names in meat, as well as butchers from Cairns to the Gold Coast, to take out the state title for gourmet snags.
It was a shock for Reg, who had assumed the more experienced businesses would take out top spot.
Part of the success is down to team work, with a dedicated group assisting Reg including senior butcher Ryan Cumner who crafted the batch of sausages that snagged the title.
Interacting with his customers, especially those always dropping by, was one of the aspects Reg enjoyed most about being a business owner.
"I don't do this for the money," Reg said.
Much like barbers, Reg said the craft of butchery was undergoing a real resurgence, with a slew of young people keen to leave their mark on the industry.
And rather than competing against each other, small business butchers are banding together more and more as they compete against the buying power of supermarket giants.
"There's a new statistic out and the little local butcher is on the way up, which is good," Reg said.
"People want to know where their food is from."
It's not just sausages and good cuts of meat Reg has on offer, also whipping up a range of new ready-to-cook gourmet options like eggplant parmigiana bakes or Mexican mushrooms.
While it was the beef and cracked pepper sausages which won the Sausage King his crown, Reg said the smoky bacon and maple were the most popular flavour among customers (and one this reporter couldn't resist buying).
Although Reg did admit that for every successful flavour, there were quite a few which hadn't made it past the taste-testing phase.
Reg will vie for the title of Australia's Sausage King at the nationals in February.