Chefs do battle
Monday 24th March 2003 12:03
The competition arena at Hospitality Week took on a different guise this year, replacing the more familiar salon culinaire with sector-specific team competitions in the show's Culinary Theatre.
Four kitchens, built around a central viewing area, gave spectators a global view of the competitions and demonstrations taking place each day.
Sponsored by Compass, 11 competitions took place over four days covering all sectors of the hospitality industry - restaurants, hotels, contract catering and pubs. The specifications for each class varied in what the teams had to produce. However, the format was the same: a mystery basket of ingredients was presented to each team (of three people) at least 30 minutes before the cook-off. The chefs were then given between 45 and 75 minutes to submit their menus and prepare, cook and serve their chosen dishes.
Among the teams to have scooped first place in their respective categories was the Compass Scolarest team, which was competing in the Brain Food - Education Challenge. Team members Andrew Deeny, Andrew Walker and Richard Surman presented a two-course meal featuring Chitty Bang Bang chicken (chargrilled chicken with Oriental pesto stuffing, beetroot rice cake and vegetable stir-fry) and dinky dessert dim sum (dim sum filled with orange and ginger, banana and honey, and raisin and nut, served with a duo of dipping sauces - chocolate and cardomom, and honey and yogurt).
In the Business and Industry Staff Restaurants category, the team from Compass's Eurest division fought off the efforts from rival caterers Aramark and Charlton House. Having been given a mystery basket including tiger prawns, cod, courgettes, peppers and saffron, the winning team served two platters and two plated dishes (for six covers in total) featuring roasted cod served with olive oil and Parmesan, crushed new potatoes, ragoût of Mediterranean vegetables and pesto oil; and Oriental mirin-marinated tiger prawns with egg and spinach fried rice served with warm bean shoot and mushroom salad.
Meanwhile, in the Pub Grub competition, Pub Heroes (aka Scottish & Newcastle Retail) clinched first prize with a selection of dishes including roast best end of lamb with honey-roast root vegetables and Parmentier potatoes; and three-tomato radiatore pasta (red and yellow cherry tomatoes and sun-blushed tomatoes) with fresh garlic, Parmesan and sweet basil.
The traditional salon at Hotelympia, Le Salon Culinaire de Londres, will take place as usual next year, when the show - the UK's biggest catering exhibition of 2004 - relocates to ExCel in London's Docklands.
Brain Food - Education Challenge
(Andrew Deeny, Andrew Walker, Richard Surman)
Scottish & Newcastle Retail
(Charlie Swinburn, Mark Buley, Richard Monsell)
Food on the Move
(Bernie Engelhardt, Martin Sauer, Michael Duckett)
Authentic Foods of the World
Lasan restaurant, Birmingham
(Jabbar Khan, Munayam Khan, Zahed Ahmed)
Junior Pastry Chef Challenge
(Robert Wainwright, John Mahoney, Mathew Rhodes)
Business and Industry - Working Lunch Buffet
(Richard Bowden, Chris Bull, Robert Kennedy)
Luxury Hotels Head-to-Head
Crowne Plaza Birmingham NEC, Aramark Parallel
(Gerard O'Sullivan, Gary Potiphar, Andrew Wright)
Independent Hotels Head-to-Head
Balmer Lawn hotel, Brockenhurst
(Paul Dickinson, Kevin Bassam, Stuart Davey)
Three- and Four-star Hotels Challenge
(Michael Mallinson, Michael Blacker, Matthew Birley)
Business and Industry Staff Restaurant
(Gary Richmond, Shaun Fitzgibbon, Simon Hayes)
On the Caterer stand
Apart from relaunching the magazine at Hospitality Week, Caterer & Hotelkeeper used the opportunity to showcase some local cooking talent.
A demonstration kitchen was erected on the stand and Caterer drafted in the culinary skills of Sat Bains of Restaurant Sat Bains, Hotel des Clos, Nottingham, who only a week earlier had learnt that he'd received his first Michelin star; Peter Robinson, chef-proprietor of the King's Arms in Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire, who had just been awarded a Bib Gourmand in the 2003 Red Guide; and Gary Jones, chef de cuisine at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons, Great Milton, Oxfordshire, one of only 11 chefs in Britain and Ireland to run a two-Michelin-starred kitchen.
Our stunning line-up cooked with the help of Williams Refrigeration, Rollergrill, RH Hall, Valentine Equipment, Lacor and Villeroy & Boch.