South West Chef Competition returns after two-year break
The competition was established 19 years ago and is the only culinary competition in the UK that recognises professional chefs, student chefs, junior cooks and home cooks. The competition provides young chefs with a platform to build their profiles and an opportunity to promote the high standards of hospitality in the region.
The overall winner of the title of South West Chef of the Year was Nathan Johnson from The Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath. Nathan was also awarded Best Young Professional Chef, which is for 19 to 24-year-olds working in any position in the kitchen up to junior sous chef. He also won the awards for Best Menu and Best Fish Dish.
Joe Cotton, from Àclèaf, Boringdon Hall Hotel, Plympton, won the Professional Chef award which is presented to a person of any age working as a sous or pastry chef or above. Dylan Evered, from The Sardine Factory, Looe, Cornwall and City College Plymouth won the award for Student/Apprentice chef for 16 to 19-year-olds.
Munopa Nhete, 17, an A Level student at Queen’s College, Taunton, won the title of Home Cook for people aged 16 and over. Syd Yarde, 14, from Torquay Academy, won the award for South West Junior Chef of the Year, an award for students aged between 11 and 16.
Jayden Watson, from Lympstone Manor, Exmouth, and Plymouth High School, won the award for Best Showcase of Regional Ingredients; Andrew Jenkinson, from Lucknam Park in Bath, won the award for Best Meat Dish, Lewis Brown, from Edies, Carlyon Bay, Cornwall, won the award for Best Dessert and Harrison Brockington, from Gather in Totnes, won the award for Best Presentation.
Caines said: “The standard of dishes from our participants was exceptionally high, demonstrating the very talented chefs we have here in the south west. After a two-year break, it was incredibly rewarding to be back at Exeter College, where we stage the competition, to see the sheer talent on show from the competitors. We’re looking forward to see how their careers develop in the future.
“This event is vital in showcasing our incredible industry, of which we are all so passionate. However, we face some very significant challenges; a combination of issues has created a serious shortage of labour and this has been further compounded by rising energy and other costs.
“Although this competition cannot solve all of those problems, it does offer an opportunity for the industry to promote the high standards of hospitality in the region and a platform for the region’s young chefs to build their profiles.”