The gluten-free two-course meal class competition has kicked off this week's Hospitality Show 2015 in Birmingham.
The winners were: James St Claire-Jones, silver medal, best in class; Matthew Vernon, silver medal; Rachyel Ainsworth, silver medal; and Paul Capener, certificate of merit.
Eight competitors had one hour to prepare a two-course meal for two people, either a starter and main, or main and dessert, as part of the three-day show's Live Theatre Salon Culinaire programme. All the dishes needed to be entirely gluten-free, and use products from sponsor Major International, such as glaces, jus and broths.
Judges included David Mulcahy, vice-president of the Craft Guild of Chefs, and Sodexo craft and food development director; Stuart Harmer, executive chef of the RAF; Frank Coughlan, group executive head chef at BaxterStorey; and Matt Davies, group executive chef for the Lewis Partnership, along with James Tanner, Salon Culinaire chef director and co-owner of Tanners Restaurant in Plymouth.
Chefs were judged on taste, innovation and presentation, as well as the cleanliness and order of their stations. Dishes prepared included a tortellini of sweet potato and goat's cheese; herb-crusted rack of lamb; smoked chicken with an apple, walnut and Parmesan salad; and a chocolate fondant with a raspberry coulis.
Commenting on the importance of the gluten-free challenge, Tanner said: "It is a very important thing for us to cater for everyone's diet. This is something that we as chefs are faced with every day."
Allergens have become a hot topic in recent months as EU regulations on labelling and information came into force last December. These state that any food provider must display, or have readily available, advice for 14 allergens including shellfish, peanuts, celery, gluten and milk.
The Caterer will be holding a free Business Breakfast in partnership with Christie + Co on what the industry has in store for 2015, at 9.30am tomorrow (Tuesday) at the show.
1. Paul Capener, Eurest Camelot Group - Minted pea puree, fondant sweet potatoes, baby broad beans in thyme-infused cream with a red wine jus; mango and passion fruit roulard with steeped raspberries, toffee physalis and Champagne jelly
2. James St Claire-Jones, Catering Support Regiment - Tortellini of sweet potato and goat's cheese, smoked cod fillet, wilted spinach and lobster butter sauce; roast breast of duck with its own croquette, with braised potato and thyme orange crumb
3. Matthew Vernon, Servest Catering - Braised turbot and seared scallops with sweetcorn chowder and smoked pancetta with pea shoots; roasted rump of English veal with fondant potato, celeriac puree and veal sweetbreads, honey roasted carrots and charred leeks, Madeira jus and morel mushrooms
4. Girishkumar Talwar, Marriott Park Lane - herb-crusted monkfish with grilled fennel, fennel puree, cucumber and mussels marinière in white wine cream sauce; pork three ways with sweet potato puree, pickled heritage carrot, caramelised apple and cider jus with hickory and applewood smoke
5. Chris Turner, Hilton Birmingham Metropole - smoked chicken with an apple, walnut and Parmesan salad with lime and orange vinaigrette; pan-fried duck breast with a parsnip puree, winter vegetables and a potato fondant with a wild mushroom spinach ball and a thyme reduction
6. John Bowler, Bournemouth-Poole College - beef and onions; chocolate and clementine sphere with ginger and pistachio
7. Rachyel Ainsworth, Combined Services Culinary Arts Team - pan-fried halibut with celeriac and saffron mash, tomato, prune and basil compote with a white wine sauce; chocolate fondant with a raspberry coulis, salted caramel ice cream on a chocolate crumb
8. John Goodby, The Dew Drop Inn, Worcester - lobster and salmon boudin with Chantenay carrot and tomato beurre blanc; tasting of lamb with pressed breast, saddle chop, sweetbreads, shoulder pie, fondant potato, confit shallots, kale and celeriac