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Chefs rewarded at Venues of Excellence Cook and Serve Challenge

Venues of Excellence has welcomed chefs and food service professionals from their member venues to Cambridge Regional College to compete in the Annual Cook and Serve Challenge.  This was followed by an awards ceremony at Kents Hill Park Training and Conference Centre on Saturday evening, where the winners were announced.

Now in its 19th year, the competitor team are challenged to design, cook, and serve a three-course meal suitable for an end-of-conference banquet for 40 people.  This year the core ingredients were lemon sole for the starter and pork loin for the main.  The dessert had to be citrus based.  The dishes were served to invited guests, including seven esteemed judges such as Peter Griffiths MBE, president, British Culinary Federation.

As well as serving the meal, waiters/waitresses were required to lay up a table; provide a centrepiece and a menu; produce two cocktails – one a daiquiri of their choice, the other a non-alcoholic cocktail; serve and describe appropriate wines with each course from their own venue’s cellars; and prepare and serve coffee.

“Once again, the challenge was a resounding success,” commented competition chairman, Barry Stonham OBE.  “The competition was incredibly strong – full of creativity and flair. Most importantly though the chefs were delivering menus that were scalable and capable of delivery for significant numbers, which is of course a reflection of the needs of meeting, event and conference clients.  There are many talented chefs and service professionals out there, delivering fantastic dishes to customers of all types. However, the delivery of high quality food to large numbers is a true specialism and I am delighted to see so many experts working amongst the Venues of Excellence.”

Winners on the night were:

  1. Champion Chef                                 Gemma Bridges                Saïd Business School

  2. Food Service Champion                 Emma Williams                 Keele Hall, Keele University

  3. Best Starter – Junior                       Natalie Healey                   Ashorne Hill

  4. Best Starter – Senior                       Steven Wren                      Saïd Business School

  5. Best Main Course – Junior            Jade Douglas                      EEF Venues Woodland Grange

  6. Best Main Course – Senior           Michael Endean                EEF Venues Broadway House

  7. Best Dessert – Junior                      Natalie Healey                   Ashorne Hill

  8. Best Dessert – Senior                     Steven Wren                      Saïd Business School

  9. Best Cocktails – Junior                    Guy Johnson                      Wyboston Lakes

  10. Best Cocktails – Senior                   Emma Williams                  Keele Hall, Keele University

  11. Best Wine Service – Junior           Antoine Balez                    Victory Services Club

  12. Best Wine Service – Senior           Mike Hart                            Imago Venues

  13. Best Food Service – Junior            Antoine Balez                    Victory Services Club

  14. Best Food Service – Senior           Emma Williams                  Keele Hall, Keele University

  15. Best Team                                     Michael Endean/Matthew Jones Hogan                EEF Venues Broadway House

Matthew Jones Hogan

Preferred partners sponsoring the event included Kent Frozen Foods, British Premium Meats and Tchibo Coffee International.


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