Ten of the best chefs in Christchurch have battled it out in the heats of Christchurch Food Festival’s Professional Chef of the Year held at Bournemouth & Poole College.
Now three finalists have been chosen to go through to the final on Saturday 2 May at 1pm.
They are: Adam Hart and Luke Phillips from Chewton Glen and Craig McColm from The Jetty. Although there were initially supposed to be two finalists, the standards were so high the judges found they had to choose three.
Adam cooked a menu of baked Flambards hen’s egg with wild garlic, mushroom, smoked sausage, truffle and brioche soldiers, sea bass with smoked oyster, dulse seaweed, razor clams, cockles and an oyster sauce followed by a rhubarb panna cotta with honey, meringue and ginger crumble.
Luke’s menu was crispy duck egg with smoked duck, asparagus and truffle, rack of lamb with morels, pea and marjoram puree and lamb sweetbread followed by a blackberry millefeuille with white chocolate and vanilla mousse, lavender and blackberry coulis.
Craig’s menu consisted of seared scallops with sweet corn purée and cockle popcorn, roasted turbot cutlet with chicken wings, truffle and crushed potatoes followed by rhubarb and custard panna cotta.
David Badley, Director of Christchurch Food Festival, said: “The judges were very excited about this competition as they knew the standards would be very high. The chefs all know each other so there was quite a lot of friendly rivalry. It was a difficult job for the judges to come up with the finalists after tasting thirty dishes and they decided to choose three finalists as the quality of the dishes was so high. We’re all looking forward to the final at Purewell Electrical’s Neff Cookery Theatre.”
Judges included David Boland, Senior Lecturer in Hospitality & Catering at Bournemouth & Poole College, Sarah Howard from the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, Liz Farrow from Bournemouth & Poole College, Luke Matthews, Executive Chef at Chewton Glen plus members of the Food Festival Committee. All the dishes were tasted ‘blind’ so that the judges did not know who had produced the dishes.
Other chefs taking part in the heats were:
Kevin Brown, The Lord Bute
Oliver Bull, Splinters
Marc Carella, The Upper Deck at Christchurch Harbour Hotel
Harry Fry, Splinters
Chris Lewis, The Captains Club
Colin Nash, The Three Tuns
Rodney Sheaff, James & White
The winner of the competition finals on 2 May will be presented with their prize of a stay in the 5 star Royal Mansour Hotel in Marrakesh at a prestigious black-tie awards event at The Kings Arms on Monday 18 May. The prize will be presented by the Christchurch Food Festival CIC in association with Jean Claude Messant, Managing Director of the Royal Mansour Hotel.
The event at Purewell Electrical is free and open to the public but places are limited and are on the basis of first come first served. The finalists will each have to cook one dish in half an hour.