Gluten-free Chef of the Year 2013 competition winners announced

25/11/2013 15:11
Thomas Fallows, assistant chef at Hindelini’s Gourmet Café in Ribblesdale Park, who has just started studying Professional Cookery Level 2 VRQ at Accrington and Rossendale College, was crowned the winner of the 2013 Gluten-free Chef of the Year competition.

His top prize is a week-long stage working with executive chef Andrew Fairlie at the two Michelin-starred Gleneagles.

The competition for professional chefs run by Coeliac UK, the national charity for coeliac disease sufferers, in association with the Institute of Hospitality and the Craft Guild of Chefs, was held at the Unilever Food Solutions Culinary Business Development Centre in Leatherhead, Surrey, and required a three-course bistro style gluten-free meal to be designed and recreated during the live 90-minute cook-off.

Now in its fourth year, the event aims to raise awareness and highlight the need for increased provision of gluten-free menu options for the one in 100 people in the UK who have this autoimmune disease caused by intolerance to gluten.

Fallows’ menu comprised baccala fritters in an autumnal salad with a balsamic syrup, followed by wild rabbit stuffed with porcini and wrapped in pancetta, with polenta and parmesan triangles, served on a bed of kale and topped with parsnip crisps. Dessert was pumpkin and squash crostatina topped with a sage meringue with hazelnut grappa syrup.

Runners up were Carol Salisbury, chef manager at 1 Call Direct, from Renfrew in Renfrewshire, and Christopher Bridge, head chef at Ravenstone Manor and Charlotte’s View Restaurant, from Keswick, Cumbria.

In the Up and Coming Gluten-free Chef of the Year competition for students aged 23 and under, Jonathan Farmer from Norwich in Norfolk, who is studying VRQ Level 2 Professional Cookery at City College Norwich was announced as the winner. Runner up was Kathryn Holmes from East Hunsbury, Northampton.

Farmer’s menu consisted of charred watermelon, cucumber textures, watermelon granita and pine nuts, followed by duck leg ravioli, butternut squash purée and spiced duck broth. Dessert was chocolate torte, raspberry sorbet, chocolate crumb, pear and chilli.

His top prize is a week-long stage with chef Matt Gillan at the Michelin-starred The Pass at South Lodge. Both winners also win a set of knives courtesy of 3663, and all six finalists were presented with a year’s membership to the Craft Guild of Chefs and gift vouchers from Sodexo.

Judges included chef Adam Gray from London restaurant Skylon, executive sous chef Daniel Ayton from 51 Buckingham Gate and St James Court Hotel, and Malcolm Emery, executive chef for Sodexo Prestige.

Gray said the judges enjoyed tasting some exceptional dishes. He commented: “Hundreds of thousands of people are looking for gluten-free options and the demand for skilled chefs is on the increase; this competition showcases some excellent talent and raises the awareness of the need to cater for the gluten-free diet.”

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