UK venues go head-to-head in culinary challenge

FIFTEEN renowned conference and event venues from across the UK are preparing to go head-to-head in a unique culinary competition, taking place in Leicestershire.

The annual Venues of Excellence (VofE) Cook and Serve Challenge, hosted in partnership with Ashby-based Wilson Vale Catering Management, sees VofE member venues from up and down the country battle it out to create culinary masterpieces and provide top quality service to special guests.

Winning venues will be recognised for the best individual courses and services in both junior and senior categories, as well as Champion Chef, best waiter or waitress and the Chairman’s Prize for the Best team.

In addition, there is a new category this year for the Best Venue Catering Service Award, which has seen industry professionals visit venues in advance, creating a shortlist for the coveted prize which will be presented on the night.

The theme of the contest, which is now is its 21st year, is showcasing talent.

The chefs involved will have two hours and 30 minutes to prepare, cook and present a three-course menu, showcasing themselves and their venues. They will be expected to produce a starter, main course and dessert using a minimum of five ingredients from a provided list of ingredients.

The waiters/waitresses taking part will also have two hours and 30 minutes to prepare a table and host two invited guests for the showcase lunch, presenting their menus and explaining fully the course ingredients and drinks per course.

Mandy Jennings, executive director at Venues of Excellence, said: “We are so very excited about the annual Cook and Serve Competition for 2019.  This event is truly a special date in the Venues of Excellence calendar and to see the awesome hospitality talent every year that our venues have is fantastic!

“With the support from our preferred partner Wilson Vale and our new Best Catering Venue award we know this year’s event will be an even more resounding success.”

The event is being held in partnership with leading catering management firm, Wilson Vale.

Andrew Wilson, co-founder of Wilson Vale, said: “We are proud to support this annual event as it showcases the wonderful craft skills at play throughout Venues of Excellence’s catering brigades.

“Learning and development is a key part of our business, so it is great to see chefs and hospitality staff at all levels compete and learn from each other in a supportive and creative environment.”

The venues taking part in the Cook and Serve Challenge are: Broadway House; Burleigh Court; CIM Moor Hall; College Court; Conference Aston; Golden Jubilee Conference Hotel; Keele Hall; Make UK The Hub; Said Business School; Unique Venues Birmingham; University of Birmingham; Victory Services Club; Warwick Conferences; and Woodland Grange.

Event sponsors include Tchibo, Aubrey Allen, Matthew Clark and Boe Gin.

For further information about Venues of Excellence, visit: