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Culinary Theatre

29 March 2005 by

Food Ideas for the Future

It was crystal ball-gazing time at the end of Tuesday's Culinary Theatre, at the much-anticipated Food Ideas for the Future class, sponsored by the Food Development Association. Over 90 minutes, four individual chefs worked alone to produce a three-course meal to reveal the trends they felt would be big this coming summer.

"Creativity and innovation are very important, for example using unusual ingredients in new ways," explained judge Chris McNeil, food design manager at United Biscuits. Competing for the prize of a trip to the NRA 2005 show in Chicago were Andy Jones from Griffith Laboratories, Richard Bowden from Compass Group, Simon Green from Pendley Manor, Tring, Hertfordshire, and BaxterStorey's Chris Macarthur.

With the judging panel admitting it was a tough, closely-fought contest, it was Compass's Richard Bowden who wowed the panel with his highly original menu of foie gras with truffle ice-cream to start, a main course of seared salmon and yellow beetroot risotto and a cardamom and chilli panna cotta with kumquats and figs as dessert.

"As well as addressing the healthy-eating issue, the presentation was excellent, and this is something which is becoming more and more important in food standards," commented the judges.

Masterchefs of Great Britain British Food Challenge

Demonstrating the variety and quality of regional British produce was the theme for the one-hour Masterchefs British Food Challenge. Teams of two from Pendley Manor, Tring, Hertfordshire, Browns hotel, Tavistock, Devon, the Angel Inn, Hetton, North Yorkshire, and the Seafood Restaurant, St Andrews, Scotland, battled for the prestigious title against the clock and against each other.

With only basic mis en place allowed, each duo had just one hour to create two portions of a starter, main course and dessert. Judging the chefs on their menus, quality of ingredients used and presentation were Andrew Bennett, executive head chef of Sheraton Park Lane hotel, London, Stephen Scuffell, executive chef at Crowne Moran hotel, London, and Peter Gordon, chef-patron, the Providores, London.

A silver medal was awarded to the Seafood Restaurant's Craig Millar and Paul Brown, but David Jenkins and John Hooker from Browns hotel beat off the competition to win gold, serving up a starter of wild sea bass on creamed parsnip and braised wild mushrooms, followed by fillet of beef with an oxtail and Devon blue cheese ravioli and Madeira consomm‚, and baked chocolate tart with roasted pear and vanilla pur‚e.

Craft Guild of Chefs Junior Chef Challenge

Recognising and nurturing new talent has always been a focus for the culinary competition world, and at the Craft Guild's Junior Chef Challenge, aimed at the under-23s, young chefs were given the chance to showcase their skills. Over two intense heats of one hour each, the cook-offs saw four teams of two prepare, cook and serve a main course and dessert of their choice.

This year, the standard of cooking was so high that after 30 minutes of hard deliberation, the judges awarded an extremely impressive three gold medals.

Two teams from Westminster Kingsway College in London - made up of Sophie Wright and Keisha Williams, and Sam Fisk and Chris Terry - scooped two gold medals out of the three, but Karlene Gaskell and Daniel McKivett from Compass Group were named class winners along with their gold award. A silver was presented to Thomas Rehrl and Rebecca Recrosio of Pendley Manor, Hertfordshire.

Wright, who is studying the three-year professional chef's diploma at Westminster Kingsway, said: "We're ecstatic and it's a brilliant start to our careers. To have one team win is great, but two is a real credit to our college." The three gold medallists will go on to work with Nigel Frost, executive chef at the Metropole hotel in London, working alongside such high-profile chefs as Peter Gordon at the Providores and acclaimed pastry chef Claire Clark, to prepare dinner for the 650 guests at the Craft Guild of Chefs annual dinner in July.

Restaurant Association's Signature Dish

Restaurant chefs had just one hour to recreate their very own signature two-course menu. This year, each team came from independent operators - Robert Porter and Clare Jones from Caf‚ Fish, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, David Waplington and Katherine Jones from the Greenbank Hotel in Falmouth, Cornwall, Barrie Garton and Harry Thompson from Lovelady Shield hotel, Carlisle, Cumberland, and Kevin Williams and Simon Caldwell from Tlws Bach.

Marking the chefs on their technical skill, the judges - who included Peter Gordon, chef-patron at the Providores, Rob Kirby, former group executive chef at Avenance and now chef-director at independent contract caterer Lexington, and David Cavalier, food innovations director at Charlton House - were also looking for the chef's choice of dishes in relation to the restaurant's local market, as well as the use of local suppliers.

Silver was awarded to the team from the Greenbank hotel, while the gold medal and £1,000 worth of equipment was won by Caf‚ Fish for the team's menu of local king scallops with black pudding hash and an apple pur‚e, followed by a trio of white fish - a Scarborough fishcake in fish cream sauce, local turbot topped with saut‚d wild mushrooms and halibut on a parsnip pur‚e with crispy smoked bacon.

Pro Am Challenge

Despite a valiant effort by his opponents, there was no holding back Caterer editor Mark Lewis in the Pro Am Challenge, which brought the Culinary Theatre to a close on Wednesday afternoon.

Lewis was pitted against Steve Loughton of Enodis, Bill Vickers of Compass Group, and 3663's Andy Kemp, all of whom were tasked with producing three portions of a plated starter from a mystery box of ingredients.

Luckily, each competitor had one of four chef mentors on hand - Peter Gordon, David Cavalier, Rob Kirby and Steve Munkley - to guide them through the process of creating and cooking the dish, although none of the professional chefs was permitted to do any of the actual preparation and cooking, with penalties incurred for breaking this rule.

The Lewis-Gordon partnership produced a dish of pan-fried duck breast on a compote of caramelised onion, kumquat and Savoy cabbage which won the unanimous vote of the Craft Guild of Chefs judging panel.

"The competition was great fun, though I really was only the organ grinder's monkey," said Lewis. "Peter made up the recipe and gave me a running commentary on what to do." n

CAPTION: Opposite, top: Providores chef-patron Peter Gordon guided Caterer editor Mark Lewis (right) to victory in the Pro Am Challenge

Opposite, below: Craft Guild junior champions Karlene Gaskell and Daniel McKivett

Above left: John Hooker (left) and David Jenkins from Browns hotel triumphed in the Masterchefs British Food Challenge

Above: Richard Bowden from Compass Group struck gold in the Food Ideas for the Future class

Left: Robert Porter from Caf‚ Fish and colleague Clare Jones won the Signature Dish contest

BOXHEAD: Culinary Theatre awards

BOXTEXT: Business & Industry Lunch Buffet

Andy Twells and Stuart Smith, Compass Group UK & Ireland (gold and first in class); Andrew Batchelor and Carl Hobbs, Ashridge (bronze).

The Versatile Chef

Gary Richmond and Steve Taylor, Compass Group UK & Ireland (gold and first in class); Paul Brogdale and Jamie Taylor, Holroyd Howe (bronze).

Innovative Grazing

Alex Chow and Ah Ban Lau, Kai Mayfair (gold and first in class); Gary Richmond and Steve Taylor, Compass Group UK & Ireland (gold); Tim Burfoot and Michael Brady, Hyatt Regency Birmingham (bronze).

Funky Bowl Food

Jason Ring and Anneli Brown, Charlton House (gold and first in class); Mark Hill and Carol Hunter, Compass Group UK & Ireland (gold); Neil Chatter and Wayne Heeks, Emile Tissot (bronze); Wai Chuen Tsang and Steven Gowing, Bournemouth College (bronze).

Sporting Chance

Frank Coughlan and Martin Hodgetts, Compass Group UK & Ireland (silver and first in class); Steve Fletcher and Keith Ross, West Ham United (bronze); Paul Hoad and Gillian Moss, Whites hotel at Reebok Stadium, Bolton (bronze).

Skills for Chefs

Murray Chapman, 1st Contact (class winner).

Masterchefs of Great Britain

David Jenkins and John Hooker, Browns hotel (gold and first in class); Craig Millar and Paul Brown, Seafood Restaurant (silver); Simon Green and Owen Harmon, Pendley Manor (bronze); Bruce Elsworth and Mark Taft, Angel Inn (bronze).

Cook & Serve Food & Wine Team Challenge

Robert Kennedy and Paul Brogan, Compass Group UK & Ireland (silver and first in class).

FOOD DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION Creative Ethnic Cuisine ‘On the Go'

Mark Buley and Antony Bennett, RHM Foodservice (gold and first in class); Shaun Fitzgibbon and Richard Taylor, Compass Group UK & Ireland (silver); Mayank Bali and Jay Narayan Ghosh, Noon Products (bronze).

Craft Guild of Chefs Junior Chef Challenge

Karlene Gaskell and Daniel McKivett, Compass Group UK & Ireland (gold and first in class); Sophie Wright and Keisha Williams, Westminster Kingsway College (gold); Sam Fisk and Chris Terry, Westminster Kingsway College (gold);

Thomas Rehrl and Rebecca Recrosio, Pendley Manor (silver); Nathaniel Smart and Stephan Koltes, Ramada, Excel (bronze).

Food DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION FOOD Ideas for the Future

Richard Bowden, Compass Group UK & Ireland (gold and first in class); Simon Green, Pendley Manor (silver); Andy Jones, Griffith Laboratories (bronze); Chris Macarthur, BaxterStorey (bronze).

Restaurant Association Signature Dish

Robert Porter and Clare Jones, Caf‚ Fish (gold and first in class); David Waplington and Katherine Jones, Greenbank hotel (silver); Barrie Garton and Harry Thompson, Lovelady Shield (bronze); Kevin Williams and Simon Cadwell, Tlws Bach (bronze).

ASSOCIATION OF PASTRY CHEFS Junior Pastry Chef Challenge

Emma Barrett and Paula Caballero, Loughborough College (gold and first in class); Hyun You Im and Ikuko Manabe, Lakefield College (silver); Richard Kinver and Raymond CT Tham , Westminster Kingsway College (bronze); Sam Reader and Martin Chorley, Birmingham College (bronze).

Pro Am Challenge

David Cavalier, Charlton House (best mentor); Peter Gordon, the Providores, and Mark Lewis, Caterer (best team).

CAPTION: Clockwise, from top left: Anneli Brown and Jason Ring from Charlton House, Frank Coughlan and Martin Hodgetts, Compass Group, Alex Chow, Kai Mayfair, and Andy Twells and Stuart Smith, Compass Group

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