Parliamentary Pub Chef of the Year Competition Heats Up
The Parliamentary Pub Chef of the Year’s Big Cook Off was filled with intensity and anticipation as the eight finalists gathered to compete against each other in the contest organised by the British Beer & Pub Association and the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group, in partnership with Nestlé Professional. The bespoke training venue, Hospitality House played host to the event on Wednesday 24th January 2018 as the finalists battled to demonstrate their skills to the panel of distinguished judges.
With four finalists in each category: Young Pub Chef of the Year and Pub Chef of the Year, whittled down from over 130 chefs nominated by their local MP’s from across the country, it was always going to be an intense competition.
Dishes were created from a list of the finest fresh ingredients provided by Fuller’s, that included venison, scallops and brill, with a huge array of seasonal vegetables including Jerusalem Artichokes and wild mushrooms were a popular choice amongst the finalists.
First up were the Young Pub Chefs:
- Michael di Bella of The Dean Inn, West Dean, near Chichester, nominated by MP for Chichester, Gillian Keegan
- Amy Houghton of Shoulder of Mutton Inn, Hebden Bridge, nominated by MP of Calder Valley, Craig Whittaker
- Gordon Stott of The Sun Inn, Dummer, nominated by MP for North West Hampshire, Kit Malthouse
- Ben Morgan of The Plough Inn, Ealing, nominated by MP for Ealing and Southall, Virendra Sharma
Ben and Michael chose to use the Fillet of Brill in their creations whist Amy and Gordon both decided the Saddle of Venison would win their way to the judges hearts: –
- Michael di Bella of The Dean Inn
Dish: Fillet Of Brill, Roasted Squash, Squash Purée, Hazelnut Crumb, Celeriac Fondant, Picked Celeriac, Fish Velouté, Purple Roasted Broccoli, Parsley & Chive Oil
- Amy Houghton of Shoulder of Mutton Inn, Hebden Bridge
Dish: Saddle Of Venison, Fondant Potatoes, Macerated Blackberries, Two-Way Shallots (Braised & Charred, Pickled) Celeriac Purée, Pan Roasted Butternut Squash and Blackberry Jus
- Gordon Stott of The Sun Inn, Dummer
Dish: Saddle Of Venison, Bubble & Squeak, Blackberry Jam, Rainbow Chard Red Wine Jus And Caramelised Hazelnuts
- Ben Morgan of The Plough Inn, Ealing
Dish: Roasted Brill, Lemon Pureé, Razor Clams with a Bouillabaisse Foam
While the young chefs were battling it out, the senior chefs were grilled by the judges; Mike Wood MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group; Roger Rahaman, Nestlé Professional Chef; Paul Merrett, TV guest chef presenter and former Michelin Star holder; Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer and Pub Association; Paul Dickinson, Director of Food, Fuller’s; Ashley McCarthy, Chef/Patron of the award-winning ‘The Sun Inn’ at Colton near Tadcaster and Dawn Redman, Director at Hospitality Jobs UK.
Up next was the senior team:
- Oliver Farrar of The Durham Ox, Crayke, nominated by MP for Thirsk and Malton, Kevin Hollinrake
- Ryan Lamb of The Tally Ho, Broughton, nominated by MP for Romsey and Southampton North, Caroline Nokes
- Kevin MacLean of The Rat Inn, Anick near Hexham, nominated by MP for Hexham, Guy Opperman
- Craig Jeffery of The Ship Inn, Wadebridge, nominated by MP for North Cornwall, Scott Mann
Craig, Oli and Ryan all picked the Fillet of Brill for the focal point of their dishes with Ryan choosing the Saddle of Venison in hopes of taking the prize in his stride.
- Oliver Farrar of The Durham Ox, Crayke
Dish: Mushroom and Hazelnut Crusted Fillet Of Brill, Jerusalem Artichoke Pureé, Sautéd Wild Mushrooms, Braised Shallots and a Razor Clam Gratin
- Ryan Lamb of The Tally Ho, Broughton
Dish: Pan Seared Venison, Pickled Beets, Beetroot, Confit Potatoes, Red Win Jus, Sprout Shells And Wild Mushrooms
- Kevin MacLean of The Rat Inn, Anick near Hexham
Dish: Pan Fried Brill, Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes, Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Razor Clam, Parsley and Hazelnut Salad with a Wild Mushroom Fricassée
- Craig Jeffery of The Ship Inn, Wadebridge
Dish: Pan Fried Brill, Jerusalem Artichoke Purée and a Chive and Wild Mushroom Gnocchi
The winners will be announced at the prestigious Parliamentary Award Ceremony at the House of Commons on the 7th February 2018.