Epsom Downs, a Jockey Club Racecourse, played host to a day of food and drink innovation and excellence on Monday 8 February, as chefs from Jockey Club Catering’s 15 racecourses came together for the inaugural showcase.
Highlights included a live cooking competition, judged by culinary legend Albert Roux OBE.
The occasion highlighted the gastronomic skills of Jockey Club Catering’s team, providing guests with the opportunity to sample signature regional dishes from the racecourses, including contre filet with dauphinoise purée, Cumbrian fell bred lamb and chocolate ganache. Suppliers included Moët Champagne, who had on display personalised mini Champagne bottles which will be served at The Festival, Cheltenham and the new Moët et Chandon range, Ice Imperial; Appleby Creamery who provided local cheeses and Greenhalgh’s supplying local baked goods.
The live cooking challenges kicked off with students from South Thames College taking part in a ‘cook and serve’ competition where they designed, created and delivered a full dining experience for the judges. Brian Harrow and Sarina Cole triumphed on the day with their take on pan roasted cod with sauté potatoes and pepperonata followed by port poached pear with pastry, crème Chantilly and port syrup. A number of students from South Thames College will be working in the kitchens at Jockey Club Racecourses throughout the 2016 season.
The day culminated in the Jockey Club Catering Chefs Challenge which saw four regional teams take to the stage to prepare a three course menu. With Albert Roux OBE paying close attention, the South West Region took the honours delivering an exceptional three course menu which included seared Cornish seabass, followed by roasted saddle of Cumbrian wild rabbit and cardamom panna cotta for dessert.
Jockey Club Catering Showcase Day Winners:
South Thames College ‘cook & serve’ – Brian Harrow and Sarina Cole
Junior Pasta Dish Challenge – South West, Scott Murray, Cheltenham Racecourse
Jockey Club Catering Chefs Challenge – South West Region, Warren O’Connor, Tom Tafelski, Charlotte Spencer and Nigel Calvert, all from Cheltenham, Exeter, Warwick and Wincanton, respectively.
The omelette challenge provided a mischievous element to the day with Paul Fisher, group managing director, Jockey Club Racecourses; Colin Bailey, managing director, Levy Restaurants UK and Dennis Hogan, managing director, Compass Group UK and Ireland, all competing against each other and showing their culinary skills. The winner, however, was Hannah Bevan from Sandown Park Racecourse, who made her omelette in 22 seconds.
Nick Campbell, Jockey Club Catering managing director, comments: “Bringing together our highly talented catering teams in one room not only gave us the opportunity to bring to life the flavours, accents and artisans behind each racecourse, it also provided fantastic learning for everyone involved.
“I am incredibly proud to see how our teams have taken to the challenge we have set them. As hosts to some of the UK’s most established sporting events we know how important exceptional catering is to the guest experience and I am confident that visitors to our racecourses this year will be delighted with the results.”
Jockey Club Catering is a venture partnership between Jockey Club Racecourses, the UK’s leading racecourse and venues group, and Compass Group UK & Ireland, to provide top quality catering, hospitality and service at 15 racecourses nationwide.
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