Simon Hulstone, head chef at the Michelin-starred Elephant in Torquay, Devon, has been selected to create the London 2012 Olympic menu for British Airways (BA).
The former National Chef of the Year winner, who earlier this year represented Britain at the Bocuse d'Or for the second time, beat hundreds of hopefuls to become BA's Great Briton in the food category.
He will create a British menu inspired by the London 2012 Games under the one-on-one mentorship of Heston Blumenthal and the financial support of the airline.
Hulstone's menu, which will be unveiled next March, will be served in all cabins to millions of customers on board BA flights from March to September next year. In addition he will create the menu for a high profile pre-London 2012 ball.
To win this prestigious contract, Hulstone entered a three-course menu and video inspired by the Olympic Games. He then competed in a cook-off against 16 other chefs, with the judging panel including Blumenthal, BA food expert Adrian Jaski and sponsorship manager Luisa Fernandez.
Hulstone told TheCaterer.com he was thrilled and honoured to have been selected. "This is really exciting. After the Bocuse d'Or I wondered what would be next and then this came along, which is a great opportunity," he said.
"My menu will have to be tweaked a fair amount - food on the ground is not the same as food in the air - and I'm really excited to be able to work with Heston."
Blumenthal added: "Simon proved to have the most technical ability, as well as a thoughtful and well-balanced menu that ties into the Olympic Games and its spirit. He really impressed us with considering the feasibility of serving it on board aircrafts too. I'm really looking forward to working with him over the next year."
Taking second place is Andrew Wong, chef at Bumbles Restaurant in London, who will receive a pair of tickets to the London 2012 Olympic Games as runner up.
The BA Great Britons Programme was launched in May to discover the best of British talent in Food, Art and Film, to work on career-defining projects in the run up to the London 2012 Games.
In the film category, Prasanna Puwanarajah was selected to write a script that will be made into a short film shown on BA flights and at the pre-opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, with mentoring from Richard E Grant. In the art category, Pascal Anson's artwork was selected and will cover the livery of 12 BA aircraft during the London 2012 Games, with support from mentor Tracey Emin.
By Kerstin Kühn
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Published by: The Caterer