Chloe Hammond from Milton Keynes College has been crowned as the overall winner of the Pidy Revamp the Vol au Vent competition for her ingenious Strawberry and Raspberry Ripple Vol-au-vent.
Competing alongside six finalists from across the country in a final cook-off, held at the Claire Clark Academy at Milton Keynes College, Hammond and Rachel Able from the London Geller College of Hospitality & Tourism, University of West London (named runner-up with her Mexican and Black Bean Parcel) were challenged to ‘revamp' the traditional vol-au-vent, using one of three Pidy vol-au-vents.
The dish had to be a canape, a starter, a main course or a dessert with a street-food theme and be as creative and inventive as possible.
Hammond's winning creation consisted of five different layers, each of which reflected a different theme. For example, the layer of strawberry mousse was reminiscent of the fresh fruits sold in street markets across the UK. The white chocolate drizzle was inspired by the waffles and crepes often found in Belgium and the praline shards reflected street food in New Orleans during the 18th and 19th century. The whole Vol au Vent was coated in a cinnamon glaze to give it a doughnut style finish.
The judging panel, made up of chef Claire Clark, Robert Whittle, general manager of Pidy UK and last year's ‘Revamp the Vol-au-vent' winner, Marian Tandy, were impressed by the exceptional creativity and high standards of the final dishes and the cleanliness of the students' workspace, their efficient preparation and the techniques used to create their dishes.
"My aim was to combine everyone's favourite desserts that are often found at theme parks, festivals and markets all over the world into one dish. I really wanted to concentrate on packing in as many different complementary flavours and elements into the vol-au-vent as I could by utilising the neutral base of the pastry," said Hammond.
"The raspberry and mint jam provides a slight sharpness against the sweet ganache and subtle mint flavour, whilst the finishing touch of a cinnamon glaze really added to the appearance, flavour and texture of the overall dish. I am so pleased to have won, especially because the quality across the board was exceptional and everyone interpreted the theme in a unique way," she added.
Whittle was thrilled with the outcome of the competition and with the achievements of every student who took part in the Live Cook-Off Final: "Our young chefs are very talented and to witness what they have achieved during this competition has made me extremely proud."
"Each of the students really took the brief on board and created their own unique and delicious dish using the Pidy vol-au-vents. It's inspiring to see the fresh, innovative ideas that the students produced from a challenging brief."
The full list of finalists included:
- Catherine Worley, North Hertfordshire College
- Nicole Watt, North Hertfordshire College
- William Sowden, Selby College
- Kieran Rudolph, Loughborough College
- Rachel Able, London Geller College of Hospitality & Tourism, University of West London
- Jihyeon Noh, London Geller College of Hospitality & Tourism, University of West London
- Jaymie Phow, London Geller College of Hospitality & Tourism, University of West London
- Chloe Hammond, Milton Keynes College
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