The heat was turned up as the eight finalists gathered for the cook off for the Parliamentary Pub Chef of the Year Award, being run by the British Beer & Pub Association and the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group, in partnership with Nestlé Professional. Fuller’s pub, the Vintry, EC4 played host to the event as the finalists battled to demonstrate their skills to the panel of distinguished judges.
With four finalists in each category: Young Pub Chef and Pub Chef it was always going to be a tough gig, whittled down from over 120 chefs nominated by their local MP’s from across the country.
First up were the Young Pub Chefs, Edward Hackland from the Waggon, Halam, nominated by Mark Spencer MP; Gordon Stott, The Sun Inn, Dummer, nominated by Kit Malthouse MP; Matt Long, The Raglan Arms, Llandenny, nominated by David Davies MP and Robert Yuill, D’Arcy Thompson, Dundee. Dishes were created from a list of the finest fresh ingredients provided by Fuller’s, that included venison, scallops, chicken livers and brill, with a huge array of seasonal vegetables including wild mushrooms, rainbow chard and celeriac which were a popular choice amongst the finalists.
While the young chefs were battling it out the senior chefs were grilled by the judges; BBPA CEO Brigid Simmonds; APPBG Chairman Andrew Griffiths MP; Michelin starred chef Paul Merrett; former BII Licensee of the Year Ashley McCarthy; Head of Food at Fuller’s Paul Dickinson and Nestlé Professional chef Andrej Prokes.
Places in the kitchen were traded with the senior team; John Calton, Staith House, North Shields who was nominated by Alan Campbell MP; Gordon Jones, The Brit Pub, Port Talbot, nominated by Stephen Kinnock MP; Michele Cremona, The Candlemakers, Battersea nominated by Jane Ellison MP and Milan Hukal, The Dog Inn, Grundisburgh, nominated by Dr Daniel Poulter MP.
“The skill and passion demonstrated at the final cook off is testament to the talent that exists within pub kitchens across the UK” said Brigid Simmonds, “We had so many great entries that each and every one of our finalists deservedly earned their place. The deliberations amongst the judges was fierce and the dishes created were a perfect example of the creativity and quality delivered to pub customers each and every day.”
Winners will be announced at the Awards event which takes place at the House of Commons on Tuesday 23rd February.