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4th November 2020

Student Watercress Challenge announces winner

Written by: Edward Waddell
Ben Addey from Sheffield College won the Student Watercress Challenge, which attracted 52 entries from 18 colleges nationwide.

The competition aimed to engage students with their lecturers to have fun with watercress and to ‘inspire’ their culinary knowledge.

Murray Chapman, director of ‘A Passion to Inspire’, commented: “When you plan a competition you never know what response you will get – but I am absolutely blown away by all the hard work that all these young chefs have put into their dishes and the support they have had from brilliant lecturers – thank you.” 

Addey, supported by lecturer Len Unwin, created a beetroot cured salmon, horseradish cream, watercress sorbet, tempura, oil and butter with a crab and watercress beignet for his winning dish. 

The Watercress Student Challenge judging panel included Mick Burke and Seymour Millington. Speaking about the winning dish, Burke said: “A well-executed dish demonstrating innovation and skill with the use of watercress in the creation of this dish.”

The winning prize was two engraved Wusthof knives, one for the winning student and one for the lecturer.

Lecturer Unwin added: “Really proud of Ben, he looked through old cookbooks and modernised an old Charlie Trotter recipe, very impressed with his technical abilities but mostly with his flavours.” 

In second place was Ellie Turner from South Lanarkshire College (supported by lecturer David Auchie) and in third was George Johnson from Cheshire College South and West (supported by lecturer Angel Ralchev).

Karl Pendlebury from AHDB, said: “It is amazing to see the inspiration that has been brought to the table by talented students under the watchful eye of their dedicated lecturers, showcasing that watercress in fact as an ingredient that brings many qualities to the a dish (and not just a garnish).

“The competition was brought to life by Murray Chapman of ‘A Passion to Inspire’ with the aim of encouraging young chefs to cook and work with watercress.”