Compass celebrates 20th annual Chef of the Year competition

Compass celebrates 20th annual Chef of the Year competition
Miranda Cook, Chris Macleod, Sam Kent and Nick Vadis
10/10/2019 - 05:00
Compass Group UK & Ireland, which operates catering contracts across schools, hospitals, care homes and military bases, celebrated its 20th annual Chef of the Year competition last week at The Restaurant Show.

Chefs from across the business competed across three categories- Apprentice, Junior and Senior Chef of the Year. The judging panel included celebrity chef Brian Turner, Simon Hulstone chef proprietor of The Elephant and Nathan Aldous lead pastry chef for Team England.

Nick Vadis, culinary director for Compass Group UK & Ireland said: “I’m always so impressed by the high standard of cooking – it’s fantastic to see the skills both our apprentices and junior chefs have learnt and are learning. It’s also really exciting to see our senior chefs showcase their talent.

“Competitions like this are a great way for chefs to experiment, try new things and show their creativity and we’ve seen this through some fantastic dishes this year. A big congratulations to all those who competed and to those who took home medals.”

Ten chefs competed in the senior competition where they were given two hours to cook four courses, including a sustainable fish course and a vegan/vegetarian starter. Chris Macleod chef manager from ESS won the gold award, with Andy Bunting from Restaurants Associates taking silver and James Newton from Chartwells taking home bronze.

Macleod stated: “I have competed in the senior chef competition on two previous occasions and to finally win on the third attempt means the world to me. I worked hard to create a menu that was inspiring and met the brief from the judges, whilst also thinking about our local suppliers and provenance.”

The junior competition aims to celebrate the young talent within Compass Group UK & Ireland. Ten junior chefs cooked three courses in 90 minutes, one of which had to be a vegan/vegetarian starter. Gold was won by Sam Kent from Restaurant Associates, Sunny Patel from Chartwells secured silver and Katie Smith from ESS was third place.

Kent added: “I’m really proud of myself and everyone who helped me through the competition. I have learnt so much in doing it and am thankful for the support I had from my head chef. I tried to make my menu as seasonal as possible and use the ingredients as best I could and I’m so happy to walk away a winner!”

In the apprentice category, chefs had 40 minutes to create one dish. Miranda Cook from Restaurant Associates won gold, while Nathan Racey from Levy UK achieved silver and Natasha Smith from levy UK received bronze.

Cook commented: “It feels absolutely amazing to have won. I entered the competition to challenge myself and to see how far I have come since starting my apprenticeship – this is the best feeling ever.”

Macleod and Kent will now travel overseas on a culinary journey to explore and experience culinary trends.

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