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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The South West leads the way with competition to champion young chefs and home cooks

The 2017 prestigious South West Chef of the Year competition is open for applications. The highly anticipated culinary contest is the only one in the UK with the aim to find the very best regional talent from not one but five categories including professional and young professional chefs, students and apprentices, junior cooks under 16 years and home cooks. The South West’s culinary reputation has long been lauded, shaped by its bountiful lands and coastline that create outstanding produce and in turn inspire an increasingly long list of home grown Michelin starred chefs. The peninsula’s passion for delicious and sustainably sourced food and drink is recognised and nurtured by the South West Chef of the Year as it aims once again to find the region’s hottest talent.

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Lead judge, Michael Caines MBE of Lympstone Manor who has championed the competition since 2004 said: “South West Chef of the Year has always aimed to not only provide a spring board for the region’s emerging chefs but also to inspire home cooks of all ages and to help young people to make cooking a career choice. I have always said that the South West is home to some of the best food in the world but the industry always needs new blood and I invite all those with a passion for cooking, for wonderful ingredients and the produce we have in abundance here in the region to enter South West Chef of the Year. It’s an amazing opportunity to learn, to improve and be challenged.”

Michael will be joined by an impressive list of judges from the region’s most esteemed venues, including Michael Wignall of Gidleigh Park and Chris and James Tanner of Barbican Kitchen and Kentish Hare. The judges will be looking for competitors who display the highest standards of cooking as well as flair and creativity. The competition is renowned for its mentorship of contestants with those entering the final rounds receiving invaluable feedback in a supportive environment.

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Entry to the first round of the competition opened on 1 June with four of the five categories now taking online applications until 31 July at www.southwestchef.co.uk. Those interested in applying should devise and submit a two-course menu that includes the compulsory ingredients set for their category.

The Professional Chefs category includes those working as a sous chef, pastry chef or above. Menus submitted for this category should include saddle of lamb (on the bone) and pollack and mussels. Young Professional Chefs entering the competition includes those working in any position up to and including junior sous chef and aged 19 to 24 years. Their compulsory ingredients are pork tenderloin and red mullet.

Student and apprentice chefs are those at college or in an apprenticeship and aged 16 to 19 years; their menus should include beef sirloin (untrimmed) and John Dory and clams or cockles. Finally those entering the home cooks class (those who have never worked or trained in the catering industry aged from 16 years) must create a menu that includes a main course of best end of lamb or sea bass and a dessert with fruits of the autumn (apples, pears, quince, berries).

Those selected by the judges to go through to the next round will be asked to recreate their menus at semi-finals and finals taking place in September and October.

Photos courtesy of OneVoice media apart from Featured Image which is copyright Eating Exeter.