10th December 2010
Hrishikesh Desai triumphs as 2010 Craft Guild of Chefs National Chef of the Year
Hrishikesh Desai, brasserie head chef, Lucknam Park Hotel has been crowned Craft Guild of Chef's National Chef of the Year following a tense final held earlier in the day.
Hrishikesh Desai won the coveted title to join a host of respected names in the history of the competition including Gordon Ramsay, David Everitt Matthias, Mark Sargeant, Eyck Zimmer and the outgoing 2008 titleholder and finalist for the Bocuse d'Or in Lyon in January 2011, Simon Hulstone.Adam Bennett, head chef, Simpsons Restaurant and Frederick Forster, head chef, 44 Restaurant and Lounge achieved second and third place respectively.The live cook-off, regarded as one of the most highly respected culinary challenges in the industry today, saw Hrishikesh fight off intense competition from nine of his fellow peers.Throughout the final, competitors were judged on technical skill, creativity, use and interpretation of ingredients, flavour and texture combinations and presentation style. The judging panel included names such as Atul Kocher, Jun Tanaka, John Campbell, Angela Hartnett, Chris Galvin, Peter Gordon, Ching-He Huang and Simon Hulstone.David Mulcahy, director of competitions for the Craft Guild said: "This year's competition has been a phenomenal success, and the revised format has certainly showcased the amazing talent we have in our industry today. Hrishikesh is a spectacular winner who fought off what was an extremely strong panel of competitors for the title. Myself and my fellow judges were treated to a host of mouth-watering dishes with each and every one of the ten finalists giving it their all."With any competition there can only be one winner, and our decision was unanimous – give or take a few debates along the way. He created and delivered a balanced and well thought out menu, which may seem an easy thing to achieve when in your own kitchen, but under the spotlight that this competition brings, it's an outstanding achievement and we give him our upmost respect and congratulations."In addition to gaining the coveted title of the Craft Guild of Chefs National Chef of the Year 2010, Hrishikesh was awarded with a number of prizes on the night including:£1,500 cash, £1,250 worth of vouchers and a unique study trip to France including factory visits, a trip to the Valrhona chocolate school, wine tasting and dinner at a 3 Michelin starred restaurant courtesy of Lockhart Catering Equipment in association with REVOL; the contents of the competition kitchen worked in at the final courtesy of Electrolux Professional worth up to £5,000; a once in a lifetime unique gastronomic study trip to Dubai courtesy of Continental Chef Supplies; two places at a VIP masterclass with Marco Pierre White courtesy of Knorr and a selection on knives from Robert Welch.Prizes were also received by Adam Bennett and Frederick Forster. Each of the finalists received a magnum of Pommery champagne and commemorative china from Churchill China.The ten finalists were:Hrishikest Desai, Brasserie Head Chef, Lucknam Park HotelImthiaz Kader, Head Chef, Park Plaza Westminster BridgeFrederick Forster, Head Chef, 44 Restaurant and LoungeAdam Bennett, Head Chef, Simpsons RestaurantSimon Christery-French, Sous Chef, Pearl RestaurantClark Crawley, Head Chef, Restaurant AssociatesRichard Edwards, Senior Sous Chef, Lucknam ParkJustin Galea, Executive Sous Chef, TurnberrySelin Kiazim, Junior Sous Chef, Quince RestaurantMartin Nisbet, Head Chef, Angelus RestaurantHrishikesh Desai's winning menuStarter: Fillet of bream with tomato, aubergine and mussel salad and crispy calamari.Main Course: Breast and tortellini of duck with celeriac cream and apply chutney.Dessert: Extra bitter dark chocolate tart with raspberry and cardamom salad and yoghurt sorbet.Words: Clare Riley