Adam Bennett, head chef at the Michelin-starred Simpsons restaurant in Birmingham, is today competing in the Bocuse d’Or, the world-famous culinary contest held in Lyon.
Bennett, who is representing the UK for the first time in the biennial competition now taking place for the 14th time, is up against 23 other countries – each competing for the prestigious title and €20,000 in prize money.
Bennett is working today together with Team UK commis chef, Kristian Curtis, commis chef at Simpsons, and is being looked on by team manager Nick Vadis, UK executive chef at Compass Group.
The team will work solidly for five-and-a-half hours preparing, cooking and serving to the international judging panel two dishes. Bennett’s menu includes a fish dish of Tronçon of Label Rouge turbot with blue lobster and seaweed, jellied eels with Scottish smoked salmon, caviar and cucumber ketchup and garnishes of potato, cream leeks rolled in espinette butter, and salad of vegetables with mustard seeds, apple and celery purée.
His meat platter comprises roast fillet of Irish beef, cooked over English oak, mushroom and bone marrow farce, Hampshire truffles, braised oxtail and cheek with pickled walnuts and root vegetables, onion purée, boiled beef and carrots – Scottish carrots filled with salt beef and mustard, Savoy cabbage and Wiltshire bacon with Hampshire truffle, potato cake with pickled mushrooms and red wine jus.
The Bocuse d’Or has this year introduced a major overhaul of its rules in a bid to bring more spontaneity, showmanship and an international flavour to the contest.Twenty-five years after its launch, the competition has changed some of the regulations for the world final to avoid the overtraining and lack of creativity often displayed on the day.
Candidates from the 24 participating countries normally serve a fish and a meat platter to a jury of 12 judges at the final. However, for the first time competing chefs have to serve their fish course on to 14 individual plates instead and they have also been asked to improvise on two of the three vegetable garnishes, having shopped just the day before the final.
The judging panel includes high profile chefs such as Thomas Keller, representing the USA, Danish chef Rasmus Kofoed, who won the Bocuse d’Or in 2011, and Academy of Culinary Arts president Brian Turner for the UK.
A group of British supporters, including a brass band, are in the crowd at Lyon to cheer for Bennett.
The Caterer and Hotelkeeper Interview – Adam Bennett >>By Kerstin Kuhn
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