Emily Clark, chef de partie at GLG Partners, has been named Lexington’s Chef of the Year 2015, following a cook-off at its ninth annual LexChef competition.
Clark’s winning menu comprised a starter of smoked eel, walnut puree, baby gem, dressed with maple and poached egg yolk, followed by duck a l’orange, poached duck breast, duck crackling, burnt orange puree and orange carrots, with a dessert of lemon poppy seed cake with liquorice and fennel sorbet.
She competed against six other finalists: Louise Roberts, Lex School of Talent graduate; Tim Blake, head chef at Man Group; Phil Read, sous chef at Standard Bank; Kristian Cooke, commis chef at Linklaters; James Willis, senior sous chef at London Business School; and Fran Owen, chef de partie at Knight Frank.
The competition, which took place last week at Lexington’s client site, Omnicom, was judged by the Square’s Phil Howard; chef-restaurateur Jeff Galvin; Mark Flanagan, head chef to the Royal Household; Clare Smyth, consultant chef to three-Michelin-starred Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, which she headed up for 11 years; and Elior’s food development director Peter Joyner.
Commenting on Clark’s win, Lexington chef director Rob Kirby said: “Emily joined our apprentice programme, Lex School of Talent, just two years ago and has gone from strength to strength.
“She’s an amazing chef so it was fantastic to see her win – she impressed us from day one with her can-do attitude and creativity. We are very proud of her achievement and her menu, which from a young chef shows a lot of skill and amazing potential.”
Clark added: “So much time and hard work went into competing but it has been the most rewarding experience. I have had so much support throughout the competition, so it was an amazing feeling to be able to bring home the trophy to everyone at GLG Partners.”
Smyth described the standard of cooking on show at LexChef as improving year-on-year: “It’s amazing to see cooks of such a young age display such love for their craft – there was a lot of skill and they clearly enjoy what they are doing above anything else, which is fantastic.”
Meanwhile Howard said all the judges felt it was the most consistent competition of its type they’ve ever judged. He said: “The standard from these young chefs was outstanding – it’s great to see youth with such passion. It so exciting to see the general level of craft, ability and cooking in this country is on the rise.”
In addition to her trophy, Clark won a tasting menu for two, with wine, at Howard’s two-Michelin starred restaurant, the Square. She will also compete in Elior’s Chef of the Year Competition.
Emily Clark, centre, with the other finalists and Rob Kirby, far right