The UK team for the culinary world cup, the Bocuse d'Or, hopes to bring the European heats of the competition to London in 2018.
The announcement came at an exclusive dinner held at Quaglino's in London last night, hosted by Bocuse d'Or global equipment sponsor Manitowoc.
The UK has already appointed Simon Bartley, president of World Skills International, as the chairman for its bid, which will see it pitted against five other countries - the Netherlands, Poland, Germany, Denmark and Estonia.
Should the UK's bid be successful, the European heats would be held at London ExCeL.
The announcement came as the UK team also unveiled plans to become an official Bocuse d'Or Academy, which it hopes will give the efforts of future UK candidates more prominence.
Brian Turner, Team UK president and juror, who has headed the UK team for almost as many years as the Bocuse d'Or has existed, explained: "The Bocuse d'Or is the world's most prestigious chef competition and taking part is the pinnacle of any chef's career. However, despite impressive performances in recent years, the UK still lags behind in terms of awareness. Setting up the Bocuse d'Or Academy and bidding to bring the Bocuse d'Or Europe here is our endeavour to give it the attention it deserves. The European final is a fantastic platform to showcase our world class hospitality and with the right support we can make it the best ever."
The dinner, which was attended by UK team members and supporters, as well as chef Adam Bennett who represented the UK at the world finals in 2015 and 2013, was instigated by Andy Daniels, culinary lead, Manitowoc Foodservice E-IMEA, who said: "Manitowoc has a strong and established support for the Bocuse d'Or competition globally and we are also proud to hold strong links with the UK team, as with other teams.
"We are particularly excited around the commitment from the UK to bring the European Selection to London in 2018. Looking back at Stockholm last May, I can't think of a better way to showcase our industry to the rest of the world. The bid, coupled with the announcement for the Bocuse d'Or National Academy will lay firm foundation for the future of UK cutting edge chefs."
Setting up the Bocuse d'Or Academy is being driven by Andreas Antona, chef-patron of Simpsons Edgbaston and the Cross at Kenilworth. Antona has been appointed chair of the UK Academy and will be responsible for transforming the UK team into a professional organisation. He will be looking to bring on board high profile chef ambassadors, including previous candidates, to share culinary ideas, spread awareness and secure the support needed.
The Bocuse d'Or UK Academy will be a not-for-profit organisation and the team is currently seeking supporters to join the likes of ACT Clean which, as a Gold Sponsor, has committed to substantial financial help over the next four years.
Simon Bartley, president of World Skills International, has been recruited to lead the bid to host the European final in London in 2018. He will be supported by Nick Vadis, culinary director, Compass Group UK and Ireland and vice chair of the UK Academy. Hosting the European final is a huge undertaking, with a commitment bond of €500,000 (£368,000) required, Bocuse d'Or UK will be seeking large corporate sponsors to help realise what will be a huge culinary spectacle.
Meanwhile, the next UK Bocuse d'Or candidate will be announced following various competitions, concluding in the Bocuse d'Or National Selection that will take place on 29 June at University College Birmingham.
If you would like to pledge your support to Team UK or find out other ways that you can be involved, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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