Jack Shaw, head chef at Savills, has been named Lexington Catering’s Chef of the Year at the company’s annual LexChef competition.
This year’s competition was around the theme of ‘trashed’. The eight finalists were tasked with creating a vegetarian starter, a main course and dessert focusing on wasted products, sustainable breeds/cuts and byproducts, as well as using and repurposing things that are often thrown away.
Shaw’s winning menu included a starter of braised broccoli stalk, pickled walnut ketchup, egg yolk, blue cheese dressing and whey crumb. His main was a pressed cod’s head with celeriac, chorizo and cod roe; while his dessert was a French pastry, coffee and pear mille feuille with almond milk ice-cream.
Shaw, who also made it to the finals last year, said: “As a hospitality chef, waste is not something I think about too much, but once I got into it I realised there’s a whole world of produce there. It was really great to use cod’s head; it’s such an underused product but so tasty. I’m ecstatic… I never expected it, but it’s great to see some hard work really pay off in the end.”
The judges of the award included James Golding, group chef director at the Pig hotel group; Amanda Afiya, director of Sauce Intelligence; Mark Flanagan, head chef at Buckingham Palace; Claire Clark, director at Pretty Sweet; Ben Tish, culinary director of the Stafford London; Peter Joyner, Elior’s food development director; and restaurateur Brian Hannon, owner of the Goat, Kiln and Brat restaurants in London.
Golding said: “It’s human nature to chuck all the ugly bits in the bin, but the fact that he was able to use the broccoli stalk and make it his prime centrepiece showed that he completely understood the brief.”
Clark added: “Jack’s was the most balanced dessert in terms of taste, texture and presentation… and it was really well-executed.”
As well as a trophy, Shaw wins a day with Golding at the Pig hotel in Brockenhurst, Hampshire, where he will spend time foraging in the kitchen garden and visiting suppliers as well as enjoying dinner, an overnight stay and breakfast at the hotel. He will also go on to compete in parent company Elior’s culinary competition.
The other finalists included Jamie Moir, hospitality head chef; Sam Walton, head chef; Louise Roberts, junior sous chef; Max Leslie, head chef; Tom Bradley, head chef; Ian Wells, head chef; and Guy Adams, executive chef.
Charlotte Wright, corporate responsibility manager at Elior, said: “I’m really proud of our culinary team for organising this event. Recognising individuals within our business and celebrating their achievements is key in keeping sustainability interesting and at the forefront of everyone’s minds.
“We have really talented chefs, and tonight provides that unique opportunity to show off their ideas, to be loud and proud, and to provide inspiration to the rest of our business and the industry.”