Competitive meat cutters donate to hungry families

By Kelly McCarthy

November 15, 2013 Updated Nov 15, 2013 at 7:59 PM EDT

Conklin, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Hundreds of families dined out on Friday thanks to a regional meat cutting competition held by Maine's Paper and Food Service and Texas Roadhouse.

The regional Texas Roadhouse Meat Cutters North East Regional Competition was held at the Maine's warehouse in Conklin.

The finely-cut steaks were then donated to the Rescue Mission to host a free dinner at the United Presbyterian Church.

"So what's going to happen today is you've got the best of the best here," said Maine's President & CEO, Chris Mellon, "And then tonight 250 people that normally go to bed hungry will be dining on some of the best steaks you could possibly get in the country. So it is special."

Nine competitors are in the regional meat cutting competition for Texas Roadhouse employees.

"They'll be competing in a timed basis to get the best yield out of the meat that they have," said Marketing Partner of Texas Roadhouse, Jerry DiCroce, "And compete against each other for a high score."

Vestal's own Kyle Russell is competing for his ninth year. He said there aren't many secrets to cutting a good steak, it's all about consistent quality.

"Every single steak we cut has to be a certain length, certain width, a certain height and a certain weight," Russell said, "So if one of those is not right our steak doesn't count."

Quick hands that must work in chilly temperatures. The room is set to 34 degrees to mimic their regular working conditions.

"This is really trying to re-create that home environment so they feel comfortable as they do this competition," said Texas Roadhouse Food Director Jason Mennie, "Because it is pretty nerve-racking."

The two sharpest cutters move on to the semi-finals and the overall national winner gets a $20,000 grand prize.

The United Presbyterian Church opened its doors to more than 250 people for a hot meal made by some of the top meat cutters in the state. Competitors ended up cutting more than 400 cuts of beef that went to hungry families.

"It helps instill dignity in folks," said Rescue Mission CEO Alan Thornton, "And let them know the community really cares about those that maybe have fallen on hard times or need a little extra support, and so when you can treat someone to a steak meal, some of the finest cuts of beef, it's just a phenomenal opportunity."

The United Presbyterian Church holds weekly public dinners every Tuesday night.

Saturday kicks off Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. That runs from Nov. 16th - 24th.