Compass Group UK & Ireland, the UK’s largest food and support services firm, held their annual Chef of the Year competition last week at The Restaurant Show, hosted at Olympia in London.
The company employs over 4300 chefs and Chef of the Year offers the opportunity for Compass’ chefs from all levels to demonstrate their passion and culinary skills. Hundreds of Compass Group UK & Ireland chefs applied to take part in the competition and were whittled down through preliminary rounds, that took place over the last 12 months, to leave just 24 competitors across the three categories; Apprentice, Junior and Senior Chefs of the Year.
A line-up of prestigious chefs adjudicated over the competitors food, including Brian Turner CBE, Peter Griffiths MBE, Andreas Antona of Simpsons and the Cross, Omera Gallucci and last year’s Chef of the Year winner James Hart.
In the Senior competition, the eight chefs were given two hours to cook four courses. David Mahoney from Compass Ireland was victorious, the judges were full of praise for his beautiful dishes. David’s first place represents the first time a competitor from Compass Ireland has won since 2007. Taking the silver award was Chris MacLeod from ESS while the bronze was won by Aaron Latham from Chartwells.
The Junior event, showcasing the exceptional young talent within the company, saw the eight competitors cook three courses in just one and a half hours. The gold award was won by Ryan O’Connor from ESS, Faye de Souza from Restaurant Associates took the silver award while Katrina Walcroft from ESS took the bronze.
The Apprentice competition saw the eight chefs, who are still completing their Chef Academy apprenticeships, given forty minutes to cook one dish. Patrick Kane from Chartwells took the gold award, while Molly Horne from Compass House and Luke Maloney from ESS take the silver and bronze awards respectively.
Commentating on the whole day, Nick Vadis, Culinary Director for Compass Group UK & Ireland said:
“Chef of the Year is an event I look forward to every year as I love the opportunity it gives to showcase the amazing culinary talent we have in the company. From the apprentice chefs cooking in their first competitions to the senior chefs, the standard of food was exceptional. Everyone who participated deserves huge praise for cooking with such skill and also being exemplary ambassadors for Compass.”
Winner of the Senior Award David Mahoney, Compass Ireland said:
“I’m over the moon to have won. Chef of the Year was the first competition I have entered so going into the day I was a bundle of nerves. In addition, you have to get used to cooking in a new kitchen and dealing with the pressure. So to be chosen by such a prestigious selection of judges as the winner is a brilliant feeling and one I will cherish for a long time.”
As well as the prestige of taking the gold awards in their categories, the Junior and Senior Chef of the Year winners will now travel to The USA in 2017, visiting some of Compass’ sites and search for new innovative ideas and culinary trends.
Earlier in the week Compass had further reason to celebrate following Adam Thomason of Restaurant Associates being awarded second at the National Chef of the Year which was also held at The Restaurant Show. Adam previously won Compass’ Chef of the Year competition in 2014.
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