Culinary Excellence Served at Annual Food and Beverage Competition

cook-and-serve-gerald-winnerVenues of Excellence hosted its annual culinary competition ‘The Cook and Serve Challenge’ on 29th October, with record entrants in the longstanding competition.
The competition, between teams from the venue consortium’s members, is now in its 18th year and showcases the very best aspiring talent within the catering teams. The competition asks entrants to prepare and serve a three course meal, suitable for an end of conference banquet, and accompanied by cocktails, appropriate wines and coffee.

With a record entry of 14 teams this year, the standard was extremely high and after much delicious deliberation, the panel of industry expert judges decided on the winners:
The Champions Cup – Best Chef awarded to Gerald Quadros, The Lensbury.
The Champions Cup – Food Service awarded to Alan Searle, Keele Hall.

The 12 professional judges were unanimous in praising the skills and innovation of all the competitors, and they all commented on how the standards had once again risen, with all the chefs and waiters displaying very high levels of professionalism. The 28 amateur judges who acted as our customers and sampled the food, cocktails and wines served by the competitors were equally impressed with what they received.

The full list of winners in each category are:
• Best Starter – Junior: Daniel Read, imago at Burleigh Court
• Best Starter – Senior: Steven Wren, Conference@SaïdOxford
• Best Main – Junior: Leanna Higgs, Wyboston Lakes
• Best Main – Senior: George Clifton, College Court
• Best Dessert – Junior: Daniel Read, imago at Burleigh Court
• Best Dessert – Senior: Gerald Quadros, The Lensbury
• Best Cocktails – Junior: Caroline Tardy, The Møller Centre
• Best Cocktails – Senior: Paul Mott, Kents Hill Park
• Best Wine Service – Junior: Dagmara Zegar, Wyboston Lakes
• Best Wine Service – Senior: Pasquale Cardillo, College Court
• Best Food Service – Junior: Zoe Harrup, Wyboston Lakes
• Best Food Service – Senior: Alan Searle, Keele Hall
• Chairman’s Award – Best Team: Matt Wiltshire & Sarah Lucy Dixon, Ashorne Hill
• Champions Cup Best Chef: Gerald Quadros, The Lensbury
• Champions Cup Best Food Service: Alan Searle, Keele Hall

The competition took place at Cambridge Regional College, and was followed by a celebratory awards dinner at longstanding Venues of Excellence member Wyboston Lakes. The competition was chaired by Barry Stonham, OBE and was attended by over 120 guests from Venues of Excellence member venues. A raffle also took place during the Awards Dinner, raising £810 for the lifesaving charity RNLI, thanks to extremely generous donations from member venues and sponsors.

Competition chair Barry Stonham commented “I was delighted to see so many entries and even more pleased to see the very high standards achieved by everyone who took part. The skills on display perfectly reflected the excellent standards of food and service achieved in all our member venues”.

With great thanks to our panel of judges:
• Norbert Bus, Cranfield MDC
• Graham Crump, University of Warwick
• Martin Garside, Saïd Business School
• Peter Griffiths, British Culinary Federation
• Mark Houghton, University of Birmingham
• Stephen Lambert, University of Brighton
• James Larkins, Compass Group
• Stuart McLeod, Zuidam
• Fergus Martin, Darwin College, Cambridge
• Gary Rice, Golden Jubilee Conference Hotel
• Jerry Toth, Sundial Group
• Paul Rhodes, Wyboston Lakes

Our sponsors for the event:
• British Premium Meats
• Major International
• Matthew Clark
• Salmon Inc
• Ritter Courivaud
• Tchibo
• Compass Group
• Elior UK
• Wilson Vale

And the following Venues of Excellence venues:
• Ashorne Hill
• CIM Moor Hall
• College Court
• The Lensbury
• Wellcome Genome Campus Conference Centre