Kal Abate was named Lexington's Chef of the Year 2017 last night at the 10th anniversary LexChef competition.
Ethiopian-born Abate (pictured, centre left), a chef de partie at London asset management company Schroders, beat off seven other finalists at the cook-off at London Business School, a Lexington client site.
The finalists cooked a three-course meal around a ‘fire and ice' theme with a vegetarian main. Abate's winning menu comprised a starter of venison kitfo with infused butter hollandaise and cottage cheese dirkosh; a main of yetsom beyaynetu with heritage carrots and baby beetroots; and a dessert of coffee panna cotta.
She said: "I feel ecstatic. It's been a really difficult, challenging competition. The other chefs brought really good meals to the competition; I'm so grateful to be here and I'm so humbled."
Judge and former editor of The Caterer Amanda Afiya said: "The thing the judges loved about this particular entry was that it had a real story about it, and she really thought a lot about the presentation."
Judge and Lexington Catering chef-director Rob Kirby added: "Kal's dishes were really innovative and they had a story."
The judging panel also included James Golding, chef-director of the Pig hotel group; pastry chef Claire Clark; Tomer Amedi, head chef at the Palomar; Peter Joyner, food development director at Elior; food writer Joe Warwick; chef Tomos Parry; Buckingham Palace head chef Mark Flanagan; and executive chef at private members club Alfred's, Andrew Turner.
As well as her trophy, Abate has won a day's training at the Ecole de Cuisine Alain Ducasse in Paris and dinner at one of Ducasse's restaurants. She will also go on to compete in parent company Elior's culinary competition.
The other finalists included Sam Walton, head chef at HFW; Max Leslie, sous chef at JLL; James Garred, head chef at JLL; Jack Shaw, sous chef at Savills; Louise Roberts, junior sous chef at London Business School; Katie Hultum, head chef at Omnicom; and Steven Snowdon, a development chef for the company's client support team.
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