As Olympic fever subsides in Sydney, chefs around the world are gearing up for their own Culinary Olympics being held in Erfurt, Germany, 22-25 October.
The event, which takes place every four years, will see 26 national teams, 18 youth national teams and 16 armed forces teams, plus confectioners' teams and regional teams, gathering at the International Exhibition of Culinary Art to compete in events ranging from hot kitchen to display classes.
Representatives from the UK include the Scottish Culinary Team which, as the only UK team with national status, is eligible to enter the hot kitchen competition in addition to the display classes. This challenge rests with the six main members of the 24-strong team managed by Tony Jackson of Macdonald Hotels - Bruce Sangster (captain), Lehman Brothers, London; Willie Pike, Sodexho; William Curley, the Savoy, London; David Auchie, South Lanarkshire College, Cambuslang; and Scott Lyall, Glenrothes College, Fife.
"I don't want to start putting colours on medals but all the work has been done now and we're fairly confident we'll do OK," says Sangster.
Competing as a regional team is the 13-strong Welsh National Culinary Team led by manager Peter Jackson of Hotel Maes-y-neuadd in Harlech. Its four senior members are Graham Tinsley (captain), Castle Hotel, Conwy; Colin Gray, Barons Patisserie, Cardiff; Nick Davis, Metropole Hotel, Llandrindod; and Lee Jeynes, Wray Castle, Cumbria.
Among the classes the team is competing in are a cold festive platter, hors d'oeuvres and plated desserts.
Also Erfurt-bound is the Craft Guild of Chefs UK team led by Nick Vadis of Robinson College Executive Centre in Wyboston, Bedfordshire. "We had a trial run in Guernsey in April," says Vadis, whose 10-strong team will enter classes such as a three-course meal, desserts and works in pastillage and marzipan.
British forces are represented in the military competition at Erfurt by an eight-strong team made up of Navy, army and Air Force chefs led by Warrant Officer Steve Galloway of the Royal Marines. And from the contract catering sector, Granada is sending a 21-strong Granada Sutcliffe team managed by Omero Gallucci and Trevor Nelson, and an eight-strong Compass team led by Pauline Tucker.
Competing in the Pastry Olympics, a new competition running alongside the main event, is a team from the Association of Pastry Chefs. Association chairman and co-founder Alan Whatley will partner National Chef of the Year Finalist Andrew Whitson, with Mike Zietek of Brooklands College, Weybridge, and Ken Woodward of the University of Brighton as support members.