Venues of Excellence Cook and Serve Challenge Winners

Chefs rewarded at Venues of Excellence Cook and Serve Challenge

Venues of Excellence has welcomed chefs and food service professionals from their member venues to Cambridge Regional College to compete in the Annual Cook and Serve Challenge. This was followed by an awards ceremony at Kents Hill Park Training and Conference Centre on Saturday evening, where the winners were announced.

Now in its 19th year, the competitor team are challenged to design, cook, and serve a three-course meal suitable for an end-of-conference banquet for 40 people. This year the core ingredients were lemon sole for the starter and pork loin for the main. The dessert had to be citrus based. The dishes were served to invited guests, including seven esteemed judges such as Peter Griffiths MBE, president, British Culinary Federation.

As well as serving the meal, waiters/waitresses were required to lay up a table; provide a centrepiece and a menu; produce two cocktails – one a daiquiri of their choice, the other a non-alcoholic cocktail; serve and describe appropriate wines with each course from their own venue’s cellars; and prepare and serve coffee.

“Once again, the challenge was a resounding success,” commented competition chairman, Barry Stonham OBE. “The competition was incredibly strong – full of creativity and flair. Most importantly though the chefs were delivering menus that were scalable and capable of delivery for significant numbers, which is of course a reflection of the needs of meeting, event and conference clients. There are many talented chefs and service professionals out there, delivering fantastic dishes to customers of all types. However, the delivery of high quality food to large numbers is a true specialism and I am delighted to see so many experts working amongst the Venues of Excellence.”

Winners on the night were:
• Champion Chef Gemma Bridges, Saïd Business School
• Food Service Champion Emma Williams, Keele Hall, Keele University
• Best Starter – Junior Natalie Healey, Ashorne Hill
• Best Starter – Senior Steven Wren, Saïd Business School
• Best Main Course – Junior Jade Douglas, EEF Venues Woodland Grange
• Best Main Course – Senior Michael Endean, EEF Venues Broadway House
• Best Dessert – Junior Natalie Healey, Ashorne Hill
• Best Dessert – Senior Steven Wren, Saïd Business School
• Best Cocktails – Junior Guy Johnson, Wyboston Lakes
• Best Cocktails – Senior Emma Williams, Keele Hall, Keele University
• Best Wine Service – Junior Antoine Balez, Victory Services Club
• Best Wine Service – Senior Mike Hart, Imago Venues
• Best Food Service – Junior Antoine Balez, Victory Services Club
• Best Food Service – Senior Emma Williams, Keele Hall, Keele University
• Best Team Michael Endean & Matthew Jones Hogan,  EEF Venues Broadway House

Preferred partners sponsoring the event included Kent Frozen Foods, British Premium Meats and Tchibo Coffee International.