The sommelier and chef team from luxury Hotel TerraVina in the New Forest, Hampshire, has won the Academy of Food and Wine's (AFW) Gastronomy Team of the Year competition.
Sommelier Laurent Richet and chef de partie Neil Cooper beat four other teams to take the title in the competition's second year. The Gastronomy Team of the Year competition was launched in 2009, with the aim of encouraging kitchen and service professionals to work more closely together.
The final, which took place at London's Westminster Kingsway College on Monday (19 July), included a team from Summer Lodge in Dorset, who came in second place, while the team from Saffron in Birmingham took third.
Teams were asked to create, cook and serve a two-course meal using Parma Ham and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese as ingredients accompanied by a Burgundy, port or wine from the Douro Valley - all part of the Discover the Origin PDO (protected designation of origin) campaign, which sponsored the competition.
Paul Breach, deputy chairman of AFW, said the standard of finalists this year was extremely high. "The competition is going from strength to strength and demonstrates that good teamwork between front-of-house and back-of-house can result in really creative cooking and wine and food pairings."
As the winners, the Hotel Terravina team receives a 10-day trip courtesy of Discover the Origin to France, Portugal and Italy.
By Janie Stamford
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