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BaxterStorey and Blue Apple celebrate success at 21st anniversary ‘ACE Ready Steady Cook – The Next Generation’
The Association of Catering Excellence’s annual Ready Steady Cook competition was held on Thursday 26th September at East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf, London. Launched in 1999, the competition celebrated its 21st anniversary this year.
There were two prizes – one for the team that created the winning menu, and a separate award for a young chef who caught the judges’ eye for their skill and potential.
The overall winners were BaxterStorey with a winning menu of 5 spiced pork fillet, soy glazed pancetta, torched courgette, pickled aubergine, shallot & ginger dressing followed by tahini and dark chocolate whipped ganache, pickled pear skins, tahini caramel. Their prize is dinner for two for each of the chefs at Roux at Parliament Square.
ACE continues to encourage up and coming young talent in the foodservice sector with the Young Star Chef Award. Each team included a chef aged 26 or under, many of whom were apprentices. The award went to Emanuele Ciafardini from Blue Apple who won dinner for 2 with pairing wines at an Adam Handling restaurant of their choice, as well as having the opportunity to work with Adam Handling who says:
“I’m thrilled to be working with ACE to offer their Young Star Chef Award winner work experience in one of my kitchens. I’ve always made sure my kitchens showcase fresh talent - it’s vital to celebrate and support emerging chefs in this industry and to nurture their passion for what can often be quite a difficult and high-pressured career to start out in. It’s also fantastic to see how passionate new chefs in the industry are about minimising waste. Everyone in my group is committed to cooking in the most sustainable way possible, and I’m excited to give the winner a chance to take part in our training programmes, where we will teach them how to try and eliminate waste at every possible stage of cooking. I still remember my mentors from when I started out at 16; it was their guidance that helped me really develop as a chef and get me to where I am now, so to be able to help mentor the next generation of chefs is an absolute privilege for me. I can’t wait to welcome them into my team and start cooking!”
Adam Handling, Chef Owner of Adam Handling Restaurant Group
Chair of ACE, Sue Thompson said:
“This event is all about the chefs that are at the heart of our industry. It’s really important to promote the younger generation and give them confidence in the work they’re doing. It’s amazing that one of them will get the chance to work with Adam. It’s also a great networking opportunity with so many companies, suppliers and sponsors here.”
The judges included Mike Reid, Adam Handling and Daniel Ayton.
Competing from across the foodservice industry were BaxterStorey, Blue Apple, CH&Co, Gather & Gather, Genuine Dining Company, Graysons, HIT, Holroyd Howe, ISS, Lexington, Restaurant Associates and Vacherin. Lexington were in second place, and in third place were Gather & Gather.
The ingredients were revealed to the teams of two on the night with just half an hour to plan and prepare a main course and dessert and then 30 minutes to cook it in front of a live audience of over 200. The ingredients (supplied by British Premium Meats, Belazu, 4degC and kff) were pork fillet, guinea fowl and pancetta with a range of store cupboard ingredients, fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits.
Judge Daniel Ayton said: “The standard across the board was incredibly high this year, and the final decision was very close with just 1 point between each of the placed teams.”
Every chef in the competition was given a personalised Bragard chef jacket, and a goody bag from prize sponsor Collins King.
ACE’s chosen charity for 2019/20 is Hospitality Action. Over £500 raised by the raffle will be donated to them. The charity provides support to those who need it in the hospitality industry.
Leftover food ingredients will be distributed by City Harvest to organisations that help homeless people in London.
Our photographer captured the excitement of the event brilliantly! Have a look at the gallery here – you may recognise some of the faces…
Click here to view the 2019 photos.
Click here to view the 2018 video highlights.