The winners of the 2009 Master of Culinary Arts (MCA) awards were announced last night in a gala dinner held at London's Claridges.
Set up in 1987 and inspired by Michel Bourdin, with support from Albert and Michel Roux, the four-yearly award is based on the Meilleur Ouvrier de France accolade (Meilleur Ouvrier literally meaning "best craftsmanship").
Run by the Academy of Culinary Arts, the prestigious accolade is awarded in celebration of the outstanding craftsmanship in culinary skills, pastry and in food and wine service in the UK.
The winners of the MCA award for culinary skills were Michael Dutnall of White's Club, and James Holah of the Ritz, both in London.
Kofi Addai Mensah of London's Nadell Patisserie won the MCA pastry award.
Six front-of-house contestants won the MCA restaurant service and management award. They were: Francois Bertrand, Aubergine Restaurant, London; Joël Claustre, the Royal Opera House, London; Bradley Gent, Opus Restaurant, Birmingham; Jean Ettienne Kessler, Clos Maggiore, London; Emmanuel Landré, Le Gavroche, London; and Michael Newton-Young, JMK Classic Catering, Guildford.
Brian Turner, president of the Academy of Culinary Arts, said winning an MCA can be a turning point for a chef, pastry chef or restaurant manager "elevating confidence and gaining respect from other culinary professionals".
"We hope that others in the industry will be inspired by this year's winners and that those who have missed out this time will contend again," he said.
Michel Roux joint chairman of the MCA pastry, added: "From my personal experience, I know how exceptionally tough it is to achieve the level of skill shown by the finalists, it demonstrates what brilliant talent we have in the UK hospitality industry.
By Kerstin KÁ¼hn
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