South West Chef of the Year announces 2017 finalists

This year’s South West Chef of the Year competition continues to pick up the pace with the announcement of its 2017 finalists following closely-contested semi-finals on Saturday. Now in its 14th year, South West Chef of the Year champions the very best of the region’s professional chefs and junior and home cooks as well as its exceptional produce for which the peninsular has gained a worldwide reputation.

Places in the competition are much coveted with chefs and culinary enthusiasts from 11 years up entering for their chance to cook for the panel of highly regarded regional chefs including Michael Caines MBE of luxury country house hotel Lympstone Manor.

Of the level of skill displayed during the competition, Michael said: “South West Chef of the Year is hotly contested and I and my fellow judges are always impressed with the skill and flair demonstrated by those who enter. The competition aims to be nurturing and supportive whilst challenging chefs to grow and learn from each round. I can’t wait for the finals and to taste what I know will be some fantastic food from the South West’s next generation of culinary talent.”

Michael is joined by other award winning chefs, Michael Wignall of Gidleigh Park winner of 5 AA Rosettes and  Chris and James Tanner of Barbican Kitchen and Kentish Hare to mention but a few. The competition is renowned for its aim to champion professional cooking as a rewarding and exciting career choice as well as the skill of home cooks in the region.

Finalists in the Professional, Young Professional and Student/Apprentice Chef categories will now go through to their grand final on Wednesday 25th October at Exeter College while Junior and Home Cooks will battle it out at Ashburton Cookery School on Saturday 14th October.

The competition culminates with a glittering awards presentation evening and a sumptuous dinner held at Exeter Golf and Country Club on Wednesday 25th October. Tickets to this event are available to all. Guests will enjoy a delicious dinner prepared by three highly acclaimed and award winning chefs: Michael Caines MBE; Jamie Coleman, Head Chef at The Masons Arms, Knowstone who won South West Chef of the Year 2016 and James Mason, Head Chef at Kentisbury Grange and winner of South West Young Professional Chef of the Year 2015. The evening will start with a drinks reception with canapés followed by a three-course meal with wines for each course. The evening will conclude with the announcement of the winners of South West Chef of the Year 2017. Tickets can be purchased online at just £85 each.

SW Chef of the Year competition 2017_Claire Andrew

This year’s finalists:

Professional Category Finalists

Sponsored by Ritter Courivaud

  • Martin Blake, Senior Sous Chef, The Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe, Wiltshire
  • James Checkley, Sous Chef, Kentisbury Grange, Barnstaple, Devon
  • Robert Cox, Head Chef, Tudor Farmhouse Hotel and Restaurant, Clearwell, Gloucestershire
  • David Mann, Sous Chef, Boringdon Hall Hotel, Plympton, Devon

Young Professional Category Finalists

Sponsored by Lympstone Manor and Michael Caines MBE

  • Claire Andrew, Commis Chef, Kentisbury Grange, Barnstaple, Devon
  • Harrison Brockington, Chef de Partie, Grosvenor Hotel, Torquay, Devon
  • Joshua Murphy, Demi Chef de Partie, Lucknam Park, Bath
  • Paul Wearing, Senior Chef de Partie, Boringdon Hall Hotel, Plympton, Devon

Student/Apprentice Chef Category

Sponsored by Nisbets

  • John Brimicombe, Exeter College and Boringdon Hall Hotel, Plympton, Devon
  • Katie Endicott, Bridgwater and Taunton College, Somerset
  • William Hamzij, Exeter College and Driftwood Hotel, Porscatho, Cornwall
  • Ford Thanyapat Khwanyuen, Truro and Penwith College, Cornwall
  • Eleanor Thuell, Exeter College and Rodean Restaurant, Kenton, Devon

Home Cook Category Finalists

Sponsored by Ashburton Cookery School

  • Andrew Callaghan, Verwood, Dorset
  • Lucinda Ellicott, Paignton, Devon
  • Emy Mordue, Exeter, Devon (Devon Life Home Cook 2016)
  • Kelly Shannon, Stonehouse, Gloucestershire
  • Sue Stoneman, Exmouth, Devon

Junior Chef Category Finalists

  • Cornwall

Anna West, Penair School, Truro

Anna will be mentored by Stephane Delourme at The Seafood Restaurant, Padstow

  • Devon

Samantha Taylor-Clarke, Stover School, Newton Abbot

Samantha will be mentored by Mark Dodson at The Masons Arms, Knowstone

  • Dorset

Emily Henson, Bournemouth School for Girls

Emily will be mentored by Brett Sutton at The White Post, Rimpton

  • Gloucestershire

Amber Clay, Alderman Knight School, Tewkesbury

Amber will be mentored by Gus Ashenford at Restaurant 5 North Street, Winchcombe

  • Somerset

Munopa Nhete, Queen’s College, Taunton

Munopa will be mentored by Liam Finnegan at The Castle Hotel, Taunton

  • Wiltshire

Vikki Pearcey Thorn, Lavington School, Market Lavington

Vikki will be mentored by Hywel Jones at Lucknam Park

Dates

  • Junior and Home Cook categories finals: Saturday 14th October
  • Professional and Student categories finals: Wednesday 25th October
  • Awards Presentation Evening: Wednesday 25th October
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Summer Lamb – Recipe from Jamie Coleman, Overall South West Chef of the Year & SW Professional Chef of the Year 2016

Earlier this month, Jamie took up the position of head chef at the prestigious Michelin-starred Masons Arms at Knowstone, near South Molton, working under highly respected chef and South West Chef of the Year judge, Mark Dodson.

At the time of entry into South West Chef of the Year, Jamie was head chef at the Saunton Sands Hotel in North Devon.  Twice a finalist, Jamie took the title of South West Professional Chef of the Year in his final, going on to win the overall title of ‘South West Chef of the Year 2016′.

Jamie says that this recipe is “A great crowd pleaser, excellent for a summer version of a Sunday roast with family and friends.  Just plate on a platter, to be enjoyed with a good bottle of wine or a G ‘n T, with lots of mint and cucumber. Let everyone dive in. mmm yummy!!!!”

Slow-Cooked Lamb with Caeser Salad
(serves 4)

Caesar dressing

2 anchovy fillets

1/3 tsp English mustard

1 1/4 tsp white wine vinegar

1/2 tsp garlic, finely chopped

1 egg yolk

1 1/4 tsp lemon juice

10g of Parmesan, grated

1 pinch of salt

1 pinch of black pepper

120ml of vegetable oil
Slow-cooked lamb

1 leg of lamb

2tbsp mustard

1tbsp honey

1 bulb garlic crushed

1 lemon

2 sticks of rosemary
To serve

2 gem lettuce

30g parmesan shavings

6 anchovy fillets

crispy streaky bacon

croutons

4 boiled eggs
For the lamb

Rub all the ingredients over the lamb. Marinade over night. Pre-heat oven to 160c.

Place lamb on a tray, cover with foil and cook for around 4 hours until tender.

On a preheated BBQ place some Applewood smoking chips.  Once it is smoking, place the lamb leg on the BBQ and colour until well roasted and falling off the bone – it is then ready for serving!

For the Caeser dressing

In a blender add all the ingredients except the oil, turn on blender and blitz until smooth, then add the oil slowly until emulsified.

To finish, dress the leaves in the Caeser dressing and place on a serving platter with the other ingredients.

Serve with a cold glass of white wine.

Enjoy!

Don’t forget! Entries for this year’s South West Chef of the Year close Monday 31st July – read more about it here and get entering! There are amateur and professional categories!

Strawberry Roulade courtesy of Sue Stoneman, South West Home Cook of the Year 2016

Over the next few weeks we’ll be presenting a series of exclusive recipes from South West Chef of The Year past contestants.  The South West Chef of The Year is the competition to get yourself in to if you reckon you have what it takes to go up against some of the best in the region.  Entries close 31st July.

Previous winners have included Jamie Coleman, Simon Hulstone and Dean Westcar to name a few in the Professional Category.  Read our account of the 2015 competition.

We asked Sue Stoneman, winner of the 2016 South West Home Cook of the year, to give us a recipe to kick us off.  A perfect sweet dish for a summer’s day!

This recipe reminds me of my Mum who taught me how to cook and inspired me to follow my passion in cooking and it was also the start of the cooking adventure that has brought me to where I am now.

My Mum always made a wonderful pavlova, it was always crunchy on the outside and had that lovely marshmallow chewy middle. I made a meringue roulade for my first cookery competition a few years ago, using mango and passion fruit, making a passion fruit curd for the filling as well.  Making a roulade is quick as you don’t need to cook it for an hour in a very low oven like you would for a normal pavlova.  This only takes 20 minutes to cook. Everyone who has eaten my roulade says it’s the best they’ve ever tasted!  I then started making the roulade with seasonal fruits – strawberries go very well and are of course in season and taste delicious.  It’s quite quick and easy to make and is a great dessert to serve up for alfresco dining. It looks fantastic, it is lovely and light and tastes of summer. There is “always room for roulade!”

Strawberry Roulade

3 large egg whites
175g caster sugar
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp malt vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
300ml double cream
Icing sugar for dusting
300g strawberries

Strawberry Roulade 1

  • Quantities above are for a standard swiss roll baking sheet
  • Oven on at 140C.
  • Line baking sheet with baking parchment/silicone sheet.
  • In a clean bowl, beat egg whites until doubled in size.  Slowly whisk in sugar until thick and shiny.  Add cornflour, vinegar and vanilla extract and whisk again.  Spoon into the prepared tin and spread out with pallet knife.
  • Bake for 20 minutes. You are looking for a soft, marshmallowy meringue with a light, thin and crispy top. (While this is in the oven, get on with the filling).
  • Wash and cut the strawberries.  Leave some whole for decoration.  Whip the cream.
  • When the meringue is baked, remove from oven, place over a sheet of damp greaseproof paper. (Tear off a sheet larger than the baking tin, put it under the cold tap and wring it out). This helps to keep the meringue soft and cracks the top which gives a lovely texture and helps the icing sugar to stick to it later on. Leave for a few minutes.
  • Remove the damp greaseproof paper and carefully turn the tin (with the baked meringue still in it) upside down onto some parchment paper dusted with icing sugar.  Carefully peel off the paper you used to line the tin. This is the surface you are going to put the cream on – the marshmallowy side – spread over the whisked double cream, followed by the cut strawberries.  Then use the paper to help carefully roll up the roulade. (start rolling at the short side and make sure the join is on the underside).  Don’t worry if it cracks, this gives it the homemade look.
  • Carefully transfer onto a serving plate, dust with icing sugar and decorate with the leftover strawberries.
  • Serve with a strawberry puree – put a punnet of cut up strawberries into a saucepan with a tablespoon of caster sugar and a drop of vanilla exact. Cook over a medium heat until the strawberries are soft (about 5 minutes).  Cool a little and put into a blender or use a stick blender to puree.  Pour into a jug.  Serve this with the roulade and with extra cream if you like.You can use any seasonal fruit.

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All photos are courtesy of Sue