- NEWS & CHAT
The Association of Catering Excellence held its annual Ready Steady Cook competition at East Wintergarden in Canary Wharf, London on Thursday 28th September. Once again, the spotlight was on up and coming young talent. Each of the 14 teams from the foodservice sector included a chef aged 25 or under, many of whom were apprentices. As well as the overall winners, the judges were on the lookout for a chef under the age of 25 for the Young Chef award.
In the spirit of celebrating young talent, one of the judges was also under 25. Making his debut on the judging team was Adam Handlingâ€™s apprentice, Connor Blades, age 19.
With a live audience of over 300 the teams of two had to plan and prepare a main course and dessert within thirty minutes, using ingredients they had only discovered half an hour before. The main items were guinea fowl, cannon of lamb and black pudding with a selection of fresh seasonal vegetables, fruits and storecupboard ingredients supplied by British Premium Meats, 4degC and kff.
Competing for first prize were, Bartlett Mitchell, BaxterStorey, Blue Apple, Genuine Dining Company, Harbour and Jones, HIT, Holroyd Howe, ISS Food & Hospitality, Lexington, Lusso, Restaurant Associates, Sodexo, The Good Eating Company and Vacherin.
The judges were Mike Reid, Executive Chef at M Restaurant; Adam Handling, founder of The Frog Restaurant and his apprentice, Connor Blades; Daniel Ayton, World Vice President, World Master Chef Society.
Judge Adam Handling said: â€œI didnâ€™t expect the quality to be so good considering they just had 30 minutes. There is so much talent in the room.â€
Fellow judge Daniel Ayton added: â€œIâ€™m blown away every time I come here at what they can achieve with an induction hob and an oven.â€
The overall winners were Terry Oâ€™Riordan and Faye de Souza from Restaurant Associates, whose winning menu was pan fried lamb with charred cauliflower, pickled courgette, tahini yoghurt & crispy shallots. Dessert was smoked, salted dark chocolate mousse, pickled blackberries, roasted plums & spiced crumble.
Judge Mike Reid said: The standard overall was very good, but the quality and presentation of the winning menu was outstanding.
Faye said: Iâ€™m overwhelmed â€“ we just didnâ€™t expect to win. We work on different sites and teamed up for the competition. Iâ€™m doing Young Chef of the Year next week, so Iâ€™ve been practising cooking under pressure.
Terry added: We didnâ€™t practice together beforehand as thereâ€™s not much you can do when itâ€™s mystery ingredients, so we decided to see what was in the box and just go for it!
In second place were Stuart Tarff and Louise Roberts from Lexington, and in third place were Imanol Beitia and Marc Bright from Vacherin.
Louise Roberts from Lexington was the winner of the Next Generation Young Chef Award.
Louise, age 23 said: I took part last year but I was a bag of nerves. I really think Iâ€™ve progressed in a year and Iâ€™m over the moon to have won the Young Chef award.
Every chef in the competition was given a personalised Bragard chef jacket and a goody bag from prize sponsor Collins King, and first prize was a meal for the chefs and their partners at Monica Galettiâ€™s â€˜Mereâ€™ Restaurant.
The raffle on the evening raised Â£700 for Wiggly Worm. ACE has supported the charity for two years and has raised over Â£20,000 so far. It was set up to inspire vulnerable or disadvantaged people, and motivate them through food. The chopping boards and pans, provided by Nisbets, will be donated to the charity.
Leftover food ingredients will be distributed by City Harvest to organisations that help homeless people in London.
British Premium Meats
Mackieâ€™s Ice Cream
Off To Work
The Caterers Linen Supply
The London Essence
4 Deg C
The Ready Steady Cook event is kindly sponsored by chef recruitment agency Collins King.
The induction hobs used at the event are provided by CookTek
The ovens are provided by Roller Grill