A young chef from Devon has taken the title of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs GB Young Chef of the Year 2018, with a chance of international glory later in the year.
Exeter-born Kayla Tuvey, aged 19 and working as Commis Chef at the well-known Deer Park Country House, Buckerell, Honiton, has become the youngest chef, and probably the first woman, ever to win this forty-one year old contest, organised by the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs for employees of its member establishments worldwide.
Testing their creativity and practical talent, the chef finalists were asked to cook a three-course meal for four in 3.5 hours, using compulsory ingredients notified beforehand, and enhanced by a ‘mystery box’ opened at the start of the cook-off in the kitchens of Lainston House Cookery School, outside Winchester. Each dish was then judged against strict criteria of taste, presentation and originality:
In a closely fought contest – which saw Ibrahim Ahmad of the Royal Lancaster Hotel, London come a close second, with Zak Boudreaux of Chewton Glen, Hampshire take third place – Kayla’s winning menu packed a punch with the judges to clinch first place in these prestigious awards.
Explaining her menu, Kayla said she has been inspired by the flavours she had experimented with during the eighteen months she had been at Deer Park. Originally trained at Exeter College’s apprentice scheme, she had been ‘talent spotted’ by Deer Park’s MD Mark Godfrey while working on a Chaîne dinner at the Exeter Cookery School.
As the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs GB Young Chef of the Year 2018, Kayla now goes forward to represent Great Britain in the organisation’s International Finals taking place in Taiwan from 4th to 9th September. To help her prepare, she wins a stage at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, London, work experience at Anton Mosimann’s prestigious London club, and a week in one of Holland’s top Michelin starred hotels, De Bloemenbeek.
Commenting on her success, she said: ‘It is absolutely amazing – I still can’t really believe it! It is a very great honour to represent my country in Taiwan, and it will even more special as it falls on my twentieth birthday!
The winning line up was announced at a glittering ceremony at the Dorchester, Park Lane on Friday 23rd March, attended by many well-known names in Hospitality including judges Al Crisco, Daniel Ayton and Bob Hughes. At the Awards Ceremony, Philip Evins, Bailli Délégué for the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs said:
“The young talent that we have in the UK has never been stronger and we believe it vital to support and develop skills and techniques that help us ‘futureproof’ the Hospitality Industry as consumers look for new inspiration and experiences.
“The Chaîne des Rôtisseurs’ Young Chef Competition was developed to support rising young stars and give them a platform to showcase their skill and passion for the industry. However, it also goes beyond this; it gives them the chance to compete against their international peers – a hugely beneficial learning experience that will help allow them to maintain a profile on a global stage throughout their career and support their broader development”.
Vic Laws MBE, who runs the competition on behalf of Chaine GB, concluded: “I would like to congratulate all three finalists on their fantastic achievements so far as each one has demonstrated impressive technical ability and creativity.”
Kayla Tuvey – winning menu
Pan fried mackerel, with avocado puree, pickled beetroot
Roasted duck leg with asparagus, fondant potatoes, pan fried bean sprouts and plum sauce
Orange parfait, with dark chocolate ganache and pistachio crumb