3rd December 2008
Heat 1 - Bournemouth, March 2008
Results from the first heat of the 2008 Knorr National Chef of the Year competition
The first heat of the Knorr National Chef of the Year took place yesterday at the Hotel & Catering Show in Bournemouth, with seasoned competitor Simon Hulstone earning his place in the competition final.Held as part of the Wessex Salon Culinaire, the competition saw seven chefs battle it out in the live theatre, with just three hours to prepare a three course meal for four comprising a hot and cold canapé starter, a main course using a regional breed of pork, and a British inspired pudding.Hulstone, who is chef proprietor of the Elephant Restaurant in Torquay, prepared a main course of loin and cheek of Gloucestershire Old Spot on parsnip puree with Scottish langoustines and a spiced jus, with seasonal local vegetables, which was described as “a simple dish, perfectly done” by Andrew Bennett, chairman of the judges.His canapé starter comprised of lightly whipped Vulscombe goat’s cheese mousse in a pastry tartlet with red pepper jelly and marinated beetroot with Cornish air-dried ham, plus a warm croquette of morcilla and pistachio with an apple and thyme sauce. Dessert was a rose and almond tansy pudding with a lemon verbena ice cream and lemon syrup, which also gained much praise from the judges.Announcing the results at the end of the day, David Mulcahy, one of the organisers of the competition, said Hulstone was the clear winner. “The judges had a good debate but it was a unanimous decision. Although it has to be said each competitor interpreted what we asked them to do extremely well. “Bournemouth has really set the pace and the standard for the competition,” he added.Having made it to the finals of the Knorr National Chef of the Year three times before and being placed third in the last competition in 2006, Hulstone says this will be his last attempt at the title. “I’m chuffed to have made it through again. I just concentrated on what the judges wanted, interpreted what the guidelines were – especially on the canapé starters. It was important that it was all set up correctly, then I just had to make sure it was spot on. I needed to secure a place at the final and ensure this is the last time I enter!”Four more heats are due to take place: three in Birmingham from April 8-9 and one in Newcastle on May 22. One winner from each will be announced on the day, and then the three top scoring competitors from across all heats will make up the eight finalists competing at the Restaurant Show later in the year. They will be given four hours to create a four-course meal from a mystery basket of ingredients, with the coveted title and a £10,000 prize up for grabs.