Getting the right piece of meat can take both a butcher and an artist. One Wilmington meat cutter is trying to prove he's a cut above the competition. Bruce Phillips spends most of his days inside the 35-degree meat freezer at Texas Roadhouse. And that's just fine with him. “You're pretty much your own boss back here. You don't deal with all the hustle and bustle that's out in the kitchen. You work at your own pace in here. You come in, you do your work, you go.” Phillips trimmed the fat against more than 200 meat cutters to make his way to the semi-finals of the Texas Roadhouse meat cutter competition. There he sliced through 50 pounds of meat including two sirloins, two rib eye loins, and one filet loin. “Everybody has their own preference, mine is filet, I love to cut filet it's actually what I normally do the best on,” Phillips said. Next month, Phillips will travel to San Francisco to compete against five other meat cutters in the finals of the competition. But winning the title of meat cutter of the year and the $20,000 prize will take more than a few quick cuts. “It's cutting it, getting it the correct size, getting it the correct weight, and having the least amount of waste,” Phillips explained. Despite spending most of his day in the meat freezer, Phillips is now worried about staying cool under the pressure. The competition is part of the company's meat hero program that honors meat cutters who take pride in their job by exceeding Texas Roadhouse standards. Phillips displays his work in the lobby of the Texas Roadhouse on Eastwood Road. Customers are encouraged to pick out their own steak from the display case. In an average year, Phillips slices more than $1 million worth of meat.
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