Spring 09 - Taking the honours

12/04/2013 11:04
The Craft Guild of Chefs’ Culinary Academy notched up the prizes at the recent World Association of Chefs’ national team challenge.

Once again the Craft Guild’s Culinary Academy has made a huge impression on the competition scene. Hot on the heels of its success at the Hospitality show, the academy scooped an impressive 15 awards at the World Association of Chefs’ national team challenge, which took place in Dublin in February.

With its tally of three gold medals, two best in class awards and 10 silver medals, the Culinary Academy team came second to the Irish national team. Team leader Andy Twells says: “We were proud to be one of the teams to represent England at this prestigious event. The competition was stiff –we were competing against teams from Scotland, Germany and Ireland. The standard is also high with a judging panel consisting of every nationality.

“The team performed magnificently under pressure producing a display buffet and serving a three course lunch for 70 covers using Irish produce in the Restaurant of Nations.” In the Junior Restaurant Plates class, newcomers Rosie Angus won a gold and best in class award, while Kate Sims won a gold award. Both are students at Westminster Kingsway College and their mentor was the college’s senior lecturer Vince Cottam.

The pièce de résistance at the competition was its striking centrepiece that accompanied the team buffet. It depicted ‘Best of British’ – a bulldog dressed as a Beefeater, made out of marzipan, and won a gold and best in class.

The menu for the three course lunch served at the Restaurant of Nations was: monkfish with masala crust, Clare Island mussels and spinach with tomato fondue, cauliflower cream, lobster emulsion; braised neck and gremolata of pan seared lamb loin, truffle pulses, Savoy with rosemary mash, redcurrant jus; and chocolate and hazelnut crunch torte, salted peanut and caramel ice cream, compote of kumquats and golden raisins.

The team comprised: consultant chef Sophie Wright, Eton college chef de partie James Davis, and their three mentors – team captain Vince Cottam, Marriott County Hall executive chef Chris Basten and Fujitsu Siemens executive chef Dennis Mwakulua, plus academy newcomers Angus and Sims, who had their first taste of competing through supporting the team. Twells says another star support was Andrew Ditchfield from the House of Commons, a seasoned competitor nationally and internationally.

The academy, launched a year ago, gives younger chefs the opportunity to compete in culinary contests nationally and internationally through encouragement, advice and an experienced chef mentoring approach. Its first heavyweight bouts included the Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany, in October and the Hospitality show at the NEC in January. Twells says: “The Craft Guild’s Culinary Academy continues to support its up and coming members, while investing in future talent such as Andrew, Rosie and Kate, with help from their mentor Vince Cottam. In Ireland, they had the chance to test the water and gain invaluable experience for their future.”

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