Chef Tom Scade, from the Ritz London, was crowned champion of the UK final of the Taittinger Prix Culinaire competition on Saturday and will go forward to represent the country in the international final for the second year running.
Scade and fellow contestants Quentin Plateaux of the Langham and Micheal Dutnall of the Royal Air Force Club were set a Paul Bocuse-inspired challenge of serving a whole Bresse chicken, with self-serve home-style stuffing, poulette sauce and a side of mushroom and chicken liver ravioli in a consomme followed by a tarte aux pralines roses.
The dishes were tasted by a panel of judges led by Michel Roux Jr, with points given for factors including presentation, taste, seasoning, cooking and observance of the recipe. The chefs were also assessed how they worked in the kitchen.
Scade told The Caterer: “It was tough, but enjoyable. It’s always good to test yourself and it’s great to have a classical competition like this with skills that may have been forgotten. At the Ritz London we still cook like this and it’s nice to showcase what we do.
“I didn’t know what I was getting into last year, I just got lucky and won then I went to France and it was a disaster so I felt I had to give it another shot just to put those demons to rest.
“France wasn’t what I was expecting and I wasn’t ready for it. Now I know what to expect and I’ll go and give it my best, as long as I give it my best and know I’ve left everything over there.”
Plateaux came second in the competition with Dutnall in third place.
As the results were announced Roux Jr told those gathered at Roux at Parliament Square in Westminster: “Today was a fantastic day. We had three great chefs and fantastic judges. It was great to be hosting the competition here at Parliament Square again and thank-you to Taittinger for allowing the UK to have a go at knocking the French of their perch.”
Kevin McKee, UK Director of Family Taittinger added: “The competition was incredibly tough this year. All three finalists are fantastic chefs with incredible skills. Congratulations to Tom for an impressive win. I look forward to seeing him again at the Paris final.”
The final will be held in Paris in November.