Duncan Ashby Cooks Up a Storm at the Thame Food Festival

Duncan Ashby, Sous Chef at Missenden Abbey, Cooks Up a Storm at the Thame Food Festival


foodfest3-min-300x225The Annual ‘Cook Off’ between Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saison and Aylesbury College took centre stage at the Thames Food Festival on Saturday. Duncan Ashby (Catering Worked Based Assessor) and Richie Carter (Catering Lecturer) took on two of Raymond Blanc’s chefs, Mark Peregrine and Adam Johnson, from the famous restaurant in Oxfordshire.

With a large crowd gathered in front of the smaller than normal Aga Chef’s Stage, the chefs went head to head cooking from a mystery box. Having won the coin toss to choose items first, Aylesbury College lecturers choose a fillet of smoked haddock leaving Le Manoir with some lamb mince! Along with an assortment of fresh vegetables, herbs and a variety of tinned produce, the chefs also had to choose 5 items from the mystery tray. Still not knowing what they were going to cook, they choose tinned fruit salad, cooked beetroot, a family pack of Pepperami, a bar of white chocolate and to Duncan’s surprise, a jar of Heinz Sandwich Spread!

Richie said “With half an hour on the clock we set about putting our dishes together. Sharing a chopping board, space was very valuable and our team work was put to the test!

Our Menu was:

Smoked Haddock, Celeriac and Beetroot Chowder with chilli, garlic and coconut milk

Roasted Cherry Tomato, Blue Cauliflower and Herb Quinoa served alongside a sandwich spread and harissa hummus with toasted naan bread pieces

Honey and Blackberry Cheesecake with white chocolate sauce

Having been ‘miked up’ all our thoughts and team tactics were communicated to the large crowd and being interviewed on stage as we worked added additional pressures but we succeeded! Three members of the audience we asked onto the stage to judge and for the second year running we were triumphant!”

Although Richie and Duncan were a little nervous at first, not knowing what we would be confronted with, they both thoroughly enjoyed their half an hour of stardom!  They also took the opportunity of getting Raymond’s yet to be released new cookery book Le Manoir, signed by Raymond Blanc, as well as his pastry chef and judge from Crème De La Crème, Benoit Blin.

Congratulations to Duncan from all at the Abbey.