Venues of Excellence Cook and Serve Challenge Winners

Thirteen venues from across the UK went head-to-head this weekend, at the annual Venues of Excellence Cook and Serve Challenge 2018.

The competition, which sees Venues of Excellence members battle it out to create culinary masterpieces and provide top quality service to special guests, recognises 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.

This year’s contest set the challenge of preparing a three course dinner, suitable for a formal conference dinner with a vegetarian starter, turbot as the main and with dark rum featuring in the dessert.

Alex King and Anthony Milward of EEF Technology Hub took the crown as Best Team, Nigel Dono from Imago Venues was named Food Service Champion and Matt Wiltshire, of Ashorne Hall, took the prize for Champion Chef.

David Vaughton, chairman of Venues of Excellence, said: “This year’s Cook and Serve Challenge saw some incredible talent showcased from amongst our members. We were blown away by the quality of the food produced and the top-class service the teams provided.

“We’d like to thank all of the venues that took part and congratulate our very deserving winners.”

The winners of the Cook and Serve Challenge 2018, were:

  • Best Starter (Junior): Deon Chikwama of Imago Venues
  • Best Starter (Senior): James Tudor of Keele Hall
  • Best Main Course (Senior): Jack Jarman of College Court
  • Best Dessert (Junior): Deon Chikwama of Imago Venues
  • Best Dessert (Senior): Anil Dabre of Victory Services Club
  • Best Cocktails (Junior): Regan Quadros of Saïd Business School
  • Best Cocktails (Senior): Anthony Milward of EEF Technology Hub
  • Best Wine Service (Junior): Roman Petrakov of Victory Services Club
  • Best Wine Service (Senior): Nigel Dono of Imago Venues
  • Best Food Service (Junior): Athina Vasileiou of College Court
  • Best Food Service (Senior): Nigel Dono of Imago Venues
  • Best Team: Alex King and Anthony Milward of EEF Technology Hub
  • Food Service Champion: Nigel Dono of Imago Venues
  • Champion Chef: Matt Wiltshire of Ashorne Hill

The event, which took place at Cambridge Regional College, also marked the last to be led by Barry Stonham OBE, who has been involved with the challenge for more than 20 years, taking over the running the event five years ago.

David added: “Barry’s contribution to the Cook and Serve competition has been enormous over the years and we’re sad to see him step back from his pivotal role in the event’s organisation. We know the event will carry on from strength to strength and we would like to thank Barry for everything he has done for us over the years and we’ll be sure to continue his great work in the years to come.”

Barry continues in his role as treasurer and board member of Venues of Excellence.

The Cook and Serve Challenge 2018 was kindly sponsored by: Tchibo, KFF, Wilson Vale Catering Management, Zonin UK, Ashorne Hill, EEF Venues, College Court, Golden Jubilee Conference Hotel, The Lensbury, Whittlebury Hall Conference, Training Centre, Hotel & Spa, Wyboston Lakes Resort, Cambridge Regional College and Venue Cranfield