Tony Stuart, hospitality head chef at Standard Bank, has been crowned Lexington’s Chef of the Year 2014, following a cook-off at the eighth annual LexChef competition.
Stuart, who cooked a starter of braised rabbit cannelloni, black pudding, shallots and girolles, followed by roast turbot, crab beignet, fennel, Cavolo Nero and gherkin ketchup and a dessert of dark chocolate delice, popcorn ice cream, banana caramel and hazelnut, competed against five other finalists in the event at one of Lexington’s flagship contracts, Knight Frank’s global headquarters in London’s Baker Street.
The other finalists were Louise Roberts, commis chef at Berwin Leighton Paisner, Kevin Macey, head chef at GLG Partners, Javier Millet, head chef at Coca Cola, Alex Rowe, development chef at London Business School, and Matt Jaynes, head chef, Cass Business School.
The cook-off, which took place last week, was judged by Phil Howard, chef-patron of the Square; chef-restaurateur Jeff Galvin; Amanda Afiya, editor of The Caterer; Mark Flanagan, royal chef and assistant master, catering, Buckingham Palace; award-winning pastry chef Claire Clark; and Elior’s food development director Peter Joyner.
Stuart, who joined Lexington from Sodexo Prestige a year ago, said: “I’m incredibly proud to have won LexChef 2014, and it’s the icing on the cake of a massively enjoyable and productive first year at Lexington.
“The atmosphere in the kitchen was electric, with great camaraderie – it felt like we were competing with each other, rather than against each other. It was an amazingly close competition and the standards were incredibly high from all the competitors.”
Lexington’s chef director, Rob Kirby, commented: “LexChef just keeps getting better and better, year on year, in every way. The guys did an amazing job. Tony’s starter and pudding delivered real cheffy flavours and demonstrated exceptional technical skills.”
Head judge Phil Howard added: “All the chefs delivered food with seasonality, passion and simplicity – my favourite kind of food.”
In addition to his trophy, Stuart wins a tasting menu for two with wine at Howard’s two-Michelin-starred restaurant, the Square. All finalists received a finalist’s trophy, a bottle of Champagne and a signed copy of 80 Cakes from Around the World by Claire Clark.