New Zealand's best-known butchers, the Mad Butcher, have snagged the People's Choice Award in the 2017 Devro Great New Zealand Sausage Competition. The crowd favourite was a chicken, pumpkin and feta sausage, which also took the top prize in the Poultry section, winning gold for Mad Butcher Albany’s Cameron Walker.

Mad Butcher CEO Michael Morton said this year was the first time they had entered the Great New Zealand Sausage Competition and it was a thrill to win two awards, particularly the People’s Choice trophy.

“Customers tell us all the time how much they love our carefully crafted sausages, which are made on site every day at our 31 Mad Butcher stores. They’re made by skilled master butchers who take great pride in their work and Cameron’s win is well-deserved.”

Walker started work at the Mad Butcher in 1990 and, apart from a stint overseas, he’s been there ever since. He took over Mad Butcher Albany with his wife Sonya about three years ago.

He created the chicken, pumpkin and feta sausage about eight months ago but won’t reveal the “secret herbs and spices” which turned it into an award winner.

“We did a lot of testing to create such a great combo and we sell a heckuva lot of them. It’s definitely one of our most popular sausages and we were thrilled to win the People’s Choice Award because it shows people have faith in what we are doing.”

And Walker had a very important taste tester to help create his winning recipe – his two-year-old grandson Little John (Wee Man). “He loves sausages and the chicken, pumpkin and feta is his absolute favourite.”