It was an honour and a pleasure to be invited back to the Awards Presentation Dinner as for the last three years I have been involved with South West Chef of the Year in the Home Cook Category.
I was a finalist in 2015, and again in 2016 where I won the title South West Home Cook of the Year and also in 2017. I have had a very busy couple of years demoing at Local Food & Drink Festivals, further afield at The Game Fair in Malvern and The Royal Welsh Show for Taste of Game.
Recently I have jumped aboard Dining Devon with my team mates Chris and Lauren. As well as reviewing Devon restaurants, cafes and events I will be posting up some of my recipes championing the wonderful food and drink larder we have here in Devon.
The South West Chef of the Year Competition kicks off earlier in the year, around April for the Junior Competition, then May for the release of details of the chosen ingredients for which to create your dishes for the remaining categories.
Winners of the Regional Junior competitions are mentored by top chefs so they have the chance to perfect their dishes. The finals for this and also the Home Cook take place at the Ashburton Cookery School early in October.
One of the Home Cooks achieved her place in the Finals as she was the Winner of the Devon Life Home Cook of the Year in 2017. The other three ladies were finalists from previous years.
For the Student, Young Professional, Professional Chefs, these finals happen on the morning of the Award Day at Exeter College under the watchful eyes of numerous talented Michelin starred chefs headed up by Michael Caines MBE.
This year, our editor Chris was invited into the hot and bustling kitchen to snap a few pictures and videos of the chefs in action which I understand was a very tough and close fought contest this year with much deliberation between the judges selecting winners for each category and for the Overall Chef of the Year.
The winners were announced at the Awards Presentation Dinner at the Exeter Golf and Country Club on Wednesday 24th October following a superb meal cooked by previous winners of the Competition who have gone on to run restaurants of their own. The chefs were supported in the kitchen by staff from Exeter Golf and Country Club as well as students from The Michael Caines Academy, Exeter College.
Starter – Rob Cox, South West Chef of the Year 2017, Head Chef, Tudor Farmhouse Hotel, Clearwell
Main Course – Matt Mason, South West Chef of the Year 2007 & judge, Head Chef Jack in the Greeen, Rockbeare
Dessert – Mike Tweedle, South West Chef of the Year 2012, Head Chef, Adare Manor, Co. Limerick
Guests were treated to drinks reception kindly provided by Salcombe Gin and Luscombe Devon Tonic and the meal was paired with wines from Liberty Wines.
Best Showcase of Regional Ingredients – Sophie Kennard, Exeter College/The Swan Bampton
Best Presentation – Tim Kendall, Sous Chef, The Idle Rocks St Mawes, Cornwall
Best Menu – Mae Dionio, Demi Chef de Partie Lucknam Park, Bath
Best Dish – James Checkley, Sous Chef Kentisbury Grange, Barnstaple, Devon
South West Junior Chef of the Year – Conor Broakes, Whitstone School Shepton Mallet
South West Home Cook of the Year – Oonagh Egerton, Salisbury, Wiltshire
South West Student/Apprentice Chef of the Year (aged 16-19) – Sophie Kennard
South West Young Professional Chef of the Year (aged 19-25 up to junior sous) – Mae Dionio
South West Professional Chef of the Year – Tim Kendall
Overall Winner – South West Chef of the Year – Tim Kendall
Congratulations to all the finalists and the winners.
If you would like to enter the South West Chef of the Year Competition, be it the Junior, Home Cook, Student or Professional Chef category visit www.southwestchef.co.uk
Full details of this year’s finals will be available on the South West Chef website shortly.
Many thanks to South West Chef of the Year for inviting me to the Awards Presentation Dinner.