Ricky Matonti crowned CH&Co Chef of the Year 2022

22 April 2022 by
Ricky Matonti crowned CH&Co Chef of the Year 2022

Ricky Matonti has been crowned CH&CO Chef of the Year 2022 after a competitive final in University College Birmingham.

This was the first CH&Co Chef of the Year competition to take place since the pandemic.

The eight finalists were tasked with cooking a three-course menu that supports the Sustainable Restaurant Association's (SRA) 'One Planet Plate' agenda, which celebrates local produce, vegetables and sustainably sourced seafood with a low carbon footprint.

Matonti won over the judges with his three-course menu consisting of fermented barley and whey risotto, wild garlic ricotta, slow-cooked duck egg, wild garlic oil and pickled shimeji, followed by rabbit rack and loin, rabbit ragu tartlet, broccoli, onion and potato crumb, charred broccoli stem and broccoli, anchovy and chilli purée (pictured above). His dessert was rhubarb and black pepper cake, meadowsweet cheesecake mousse, rhubarb vinegar gel and earl grey tuile.

His culinary victory has earned him a trip to Seville, which includes a visit to Cinco Jotas Ibérico Jamon production and vintage sherry tasting in the cellars of Jerez.

Nathan Kearney, head chef with Gather & Gather – CH&Co's specialist workplace business – came second place.

The judging panel featured John Williams, executive chef of the Ritz London; Ollie Dabbous, chef and owner of Michelin-starred Hide restaurant and member of the CH&Co Gathered Table; Adam Bateman, executive chef at the Grand hotel Birmingham; Ravneet Gill, pastry chef, author and member of the CH&Co Gathered Table; Bradley Carter, chef and proprietor of Michelin-starred Carters of Moseley; and Ana Paula Oliver, executive pastry chef for Company of Cooks.

Jeremy Ford, food director at CH&Co, said: "Huge congratulations go to the winner, Ricky Matonti. He was an exceptional competitor and his rabbit main course a highlight of the competition.

"I'm incredibly proud of all the finalists who produced amazing food. Everyone stepped up to the challenge and they are all testament to the culinary excellence and talent within our business.

"I was also impressed by their approach to sustainability. As a holder of the SRA's three-star Food Made Good rating, it's a fundamental part of our culture, as the chefs demonstrated perfectly."

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