Simon Webb, Restaurant Associates' head chef at its Merrill Lynch contract in London, has been named 2012 British Culinary Federation Chef of the Year following the live final held at Hotelympia in yesterday.
A line-up of high profile judges, including Raymond Blanc from Le Manoir Aux Quat'Saisons, the Waterside Inn's Alain Roux and Ashley Palmer-Watts of the Fat Duck, were on hand to score the 10 finalists.
The finalists were tasked with producing a three course meal for two, centred on using the cap/picanha muscle of Aubrey's Dry Aged Beef, which they had to prepare and butcher themselves for the main dish.
Webb's winning menu was made up of flame grilled Cornish mackerel, salt baked beetroots, pickled radish, crab and coastal leaves followed by slow cooked rump cap of suckler beef, smoked parsnip, buckwheat, blue cheese and bone marrow, with Heritage apple and honey cake, brown butter, spiced raisins and cider for dessert.
Peter Griffiths, president of the British Culinary Federation and salon director of Hotelympia, commented: "The competition, which is open to all chefs, provides a fantastic opportunity for both new and established professionals to showcase their cutting-edge creativity and be recognised for their talent and culinary skills using the best of British home produced food.
"We have an outstanding winner in Simon Webb this year, who will undoubtedly be a name to watch in the future and go on to reach new culinary heights."
Past winners of the competition, which is sponsored by EBLEX and butcher Aubrey Allen, include Simon Hulstone, Richard Turner and Adam Bennett.
The other finalists were:
- Michael Tweedie, Lucknam Park hotel, Bath
- Byron Franklin, Pembroke College, Cambridge
- Sheldon Fonseca, the Dorchester hotel, London
- Raymond Thomson, Stirling Management Centre, Scotland
- Carlos Martinez, Cliveden House, Taplow
- Colin Layfield, Paramount restaurant, London who came third
- Adam Simmonds, Danesfield House hotel, Marlow
- Adam Smith, the Ritz hotel, London who came second
- Dez Turland, Saunton Sands hotel, Devon
By Janie Manzoori-Stamford
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