Competition Round-up M Restaurants announces 16 finalists for Young Chef of the Year Competition Awards seek to inspire new talent to combat post-Brexit staff shortages This year sees the addition of a sustainability element to the judging criteria to address the current food waste crisis The line-up includes finalists from Kricket, Umu and Gordon Ramsay Group M Restaurant and Bookatable by Michelin have announced the finalists of the third Young Chef of the Year competition to unearth the UK’s finest culinary rising star and crown the winner, Young Chef of the Year 2019. In the looming shadow of Brexit, M recognises that now more than ever is the time to celebrate young talent and bolster morale in the hospitality sector. Staff shortages are continuing to rise, and the industry faces some of its toughest challenges yet with approximately 20,000 chefs leaving the industry year on year. The finalists, all chefs under the age of 30, hail from some of the best restaurants across London and the rest of the UK. Battling it out for the top spot are representatives from a wide range of high-end and more accessible restaurants including brilliant London-based Indian restaurants; Kricket and The Cinnamon Club, Boodle’s Gentlemen’s Club, 5-star hotel The Stafford London and one Michelin-starred Umu. They were selected after submitting an original four-course menu at £45 per head, together with costings for 50 covers. The chefs all suitably impressed M’s Culinary Director Mike Reid and have now been invited to M Victoria Street to cook in a series of pop-up takeover nights from 9-31 July, with diners and judges voting for their favourite young chef. The voting criteria will be 62 based on the quality of the cooking and marketing on the night. This year the competition will also address another pressing matter with marks awarded to chefs for their sustainable sourcing of ingredients and resourceful handling of food waste. Throughout July chefs will be judged by a panel consisting of M Restaurant founder, Martin Williams and Culinary Director, Mike Reid, as well leading chefs including Sabrina Gidda, Steve Groves, Ben Tish, Alyn Williams and James Knappett; social media influencer Felicity Spector; and journalists David Ellis and Chris Gamm. Each night a judging panel will be present to score the chef, and this will form 50% of their final score. The remaining 50% will be awarded by the paying diners, marked using the same criteria. Guests and judges will sample special dishes throughout the pop-up nights such as Seared scallops with strawberries and balsamic (Lily Stock, Boodles); Sweet pea panna cotta, crab, mango & dashi sorbet (Will Bowman Smith, The Swan Inn); Tasting of South Downs lamb, peas, mint & glazed carrot (Jordan Kerridge, The Stafford London) and Cherry parfait, white chocolate glaze, pickled cherries, aerated white chocolate (Michael Turner, Gordon Ramsay Restaurants). On 27 July, M will host an exclusive evening with The Clink Charity whereby graduates from The Clink programme will have the unique opportunity to run both the kitchen and service of the restaurant. Whilst separate to the competition itself, the evening will continue to showcase M’s fundamental values; supporting the industry from the bottom up and celebrating emerging talent wherever it lies. The price of the menu will remain the same as the previous popups, but this time all the profits will be donated to the Clink. On 4th September the Young Chef of the Year will be crowned in an awards ceremony held at M Victoria and will receive a trip with sponsors Pommery to theChampagne region of France to explore their vineyards. Additional prizes will be presented for the Runner Up, Most Sustainable Menu and the Best Marketing Campaign.
Toque d’Or® 2019 winners announced Stars shine in Grand Finals focused on Sustainable Futures The results are in: Nestlé Professional® has announced the winners of the Toque d’Or® 2019 competition as University College Birmingham and apprentice Drew Dawson from 5 Star Hotel and members’ club The Ned. It is the fifth time University College Birmingham has won the college accolade since 2010, most recently picking up the title in 2017. This year’s stars were revealed at a VIP awards lunch at the Royal Lancaster London on Friday 14th June 2019, in a ceremony hosted by Mark Durden Smith and Angellica Bell. The winners had been left in suspense for the results following an intense fourday Grand Finals held at the beginning of May. The 12 college and apprentice Grand Finalists experienced the true breadth of the industry with challenges including: WSET Level One training (and exam) at English vineyard Denbies, followed by wine tasting and a tour of the vineyards and wine cellars Fast-paced shifts under the watchful eye of chef James Tanner at unique dining and drinking venue Smiths of Smithfield Recreating and serving a three-course fine dining sustainable menu developed by Simon Hulstone at the luxurious Kimpton Fitzroy Hotel Harvesting vegetables before creating their own sustainable vegetarian dish at Watts Farm in Dartford Speaking about the Toque d’Or 2019 competition, Katya Simmons, Managing Director, Nestlé Professional® UK&I, said: “This is a life-changing moment for the winners. By giving them the opportunity to develop their knowledge in all aspects of the industry and work alongside high profile experts and chefs, the competition has paved the way for their careers. The winners’ creativity in their approach to the challenges really set them apart from the pack and they have set an incredibly high standard for next year’s competition.” Yasmine Selwood from University College Birmingham said: “I’m a mother of four, and an older student and this competition has proved that I can do anything I put my mind to. There really is no limit to what you can achieve. The secret is believing in yourself and being open to new opportunities when they arise.” Luke Haywood from University College Birmingham added, “I came into this competition slightly daunted and not knowing what to expect, but we’ve grown together as a team and developed a really close bond. “I think competitions like this are great because the industry is always changing and Toque d’Or provides the perfect platform to get you up to speed with all the latest trends and developments in the industry.” Apprentice winner, Drew Dawson from The Ned also spoke about his experience: “I’m absolutely over the moon! It’s an experience of a lifetime and I’m so lucky to have been given this opportunity. “Competitions like this show just how supportive the industry is, giving young people the opportunity to do great things. “I think the best part of the competition was meeting the farmers and really understanding the supply chain and how everything fits together.” This year’s Toque d’Or competition focused on sustainable futures. “For us at Nestlé Professional, sustainability covers everything from food sourcing through to talent sourcing and retention”, said Katya Simmons. “Rewarding career opportunities, innovation and creativity are exciting prospects for young talent, so it’s important the industry works together to celebrate its creativity and attract fresh talent.” Now in its 31st year, Nestlé Professio al® Toque d’Or® is one of the UK’s most influential industry competitions, bridging the gap between the theories of the classroom, work-based learning and the exciting reality of the industry. With over 400 registrations, this year’s competition received record levels of interest. 63
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