Junior Compassionate Cook 2015!

This competition is open to children aged between six or twelve (entrants must be supervised by an adult) and is a fun way to get kids inspired in cooking! All they have to do is make a five minute video demonstrating how to cook a simple recipe using RSPCA Assured – and if you can Fairtrade-labelled – ingredients.

Hamley’s toy stores are offering two winners toy hampers worth £300 as well as four smaller hampers for four runners up. The winners and their schools will also each receive a range of children’s cookware. So if you know any children who love making good food, tell them to get cooking!

You never know, it could produce the next Jamie Oliver – James Martin – Cyrus Todiwala or Prue Leith!

Visit https://www.rspcaassured.org.uk/get-involved/junior-compassionate-cook for the full lowdown

Danny Hoang announced Young National Chef of the Year 2016

Competition celebrates the rising stars of the chef world

Danny Hoang from Colette’s at The Grove in Rickmansworth was named Young National Chef of the Year 2016 in the UK’s most prestigious chef competition, following a tense final at The Restaurant Show in London’s Olympia yesterday.

Winning the Craft Guild of Chefs’ Young National Chef of the Year title is a huge boost for any young chef’s career and Danny joins a growing list of accomplished young chefs who are now working in some of the UK’s top kitchens.

Danny competed against seven talented young finalists in a challenge which gave the chefs two hours to produce a three course menu for two using oven ready quail for the starter, a main course of fresh hake and their own take on bread and butter pudding for dessert.

Danny’s starter was quail leg and breast, watercress and parsley sauce, hay-baked baby beetroots and nasturtium and his main; seared hake, baby leeks, vinaigrette of sea vegetables, mussels and celeriac, beet batter scraps, mussel cream sauce. His dessert was lightly spiced bread and butter pudding with vanilla ice-cream and malt custard, pickled blackberries and Braeburn apples. The menu was deemed a worthy winner by the judges who included: Mark Sargeant, Alyn Williams, Christopher Basten, Sophie Mitchell, Julie Walsh, Ben Tish and Brad McDonald.

Danny Young from Northcote Manor in Langho came a close runner up with Ruth Hansom of The Ritz London in third place.

The winner and runners up will be taken to a food trends study trip to Scotland by headline sponsor, KNORR. KNORR has also invited all the finalists to Loch Goil – a stunning five star venue in Scotland for a culinary study tour and a range of outdoor activities.

As well as the industry recognition that the title provides, Danny Hoang also collects an exclusively designed winner’s plate from sponsors Churchill China and £500 worth of product, £1,250 voucher to spend within the Lockharts’ Product Range, a unique gastronomic trip to one of the world’s top restaurants courtesy of Lockhart Catering Equipment and £1,500 worth of activity voucher from KNORR.

The remaining finalists were:

Arthur Quinn, The Punchball Inn

Elly Wentworth, Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe,

Connor Godfrey, Wiltons Restaurant

Ray Steplin, House of Commons

Victoria Scupham, The Royal Household

David Mulcahy, Vice President of the Craft Guild of Chefs and organiser of the competition says, “Young National Chef of the Year is a fantastic platform for young chefs and the experience alone ensures that they begin their career on a high. The competition has once again highlighted the outstanding young talent that exists in our country at the moment.  Each of the finalists cooked tremendously well and has set the bar high for the next generation of chefs. Danny Hoang’s dishes were exceptionally well thought out and executed but all the finalists should be very proud of their performance.”

Mark Sargeant, Young National Chef of the Year Ambassador, adds: “It’s an honour to be an ambassador for Young National Chef of the Year. Having won a competition in a similar guise in 1996, I know what it means to have the accolade at such a young age.

Winning makes a huge difference to your learning and enables you to build your social skills and grow your confidence. It can even lead you to your next job. I’m a big fan of these young chefs who are so keen and hungry. The standard of the competition goes from strength to strength and I may say it every year but these young chefs aren’t far off giving the senior chefs a run for their money!”

For more information visit www.craftguildofchefs.org or follow @Craft_Guild #YNCOTY on Twitter.


Larry Jayasekara from Gordon Ramsay Holdings secures the UK’s most Coveted Chef Title

National Chef of the Year Winner 2016 Announced

Larry Jayasekara, sous chef at Gordon Ramsay Holdings, was yesterday announced as the Craft Guild of Chefs’National Chef of the Year 2016, the UK’s most sought after chef prize.

The Craft Guild of Chefs National Chef of the Year is the largest and most prestigious chef competition in the UK and the final was watched by more than 100 hospitality professionals and students at The Restaurant Show in London’s Olympia. The chefs were given just two hours to produce four covers consisting of a starter and main using seafood and meat selected from a mystery basket. They had to create a hot or cold dessert using chocolate and coffee.

Larry joins an esteemed club of winners, which includes Ramsay himself, David Everitt- Matthias, Alyn Williams, Mark Sargeant and many more who have gone on to gain industry-wide recognition and achieve ambitious career goals thanks to their success in the competition.

Second place in the competition went to Paul Foster from Mallory Court and in third place was Martin Carabott from the The Royal Automobile Club.

The remaining finalists were:

Adam Handling, Head Chef, Adam Handling at Caxton

Andrew Ditchfield, Pastry Chef, House of Commons

Lawrence McCarthy, Sous Chef, The Ledbury Restaurant

Luciano Lucioli, Head Chef, Marks & Spencers Headquarters (Lusso – CH&Co)

Mark Kempson, Head Chef, Kitchen W8

Larry’s menu of Plancha native lobster, leek, red pepper, Roast loin of venison, cavelo nero, blackberries, Chocolate coffee cream, pan roasted pear greatly impressed the judging panel which once again comprised some of Britain’s most accomplished chefs. This year they were led by chair of judges Clare Smyth and included Alyn Williams, Ben Tish, Claude Bosi, Daniel Clifford, James ‘Jocky’ Petrie, Sat Bains and Stephen Terry.

As well as the career defining benefits associated with winning National Chef of the Year, Larry also collected the winner’s medal, £1,250 to spend within Lockhart’s product range, a unique gastronomic trip to one of the world’s top restaurants courtesy of Lockhart Catering Equipment, a £1,500 activity voucher courtesy of KNORR and an exclusively designed winner’s plate from Churchill.

David Mulcahy, Vice President of the Craft Guild of Chefs and organiser of the competition says,

“The National Chef of the Year is a major career boost for the winning chef and the title is coveted by chefs throughout the UK. Today the judges felt that the quality of all the finalists’ dishes had risen significantly. They were extremely focused and all the dishes extremely well executed. It was a much closer competition that in previous years and it was fantastic to see and taste so many delicious dishes.”

Clare Smyth, chair of judges, commented, “We knew that standards would be high this year and we’ve had an amazing final. It’s great to have so many fantastic chefs entering and whilst we’ve had some fantastic finals I think this really was the best ever.

The desserts particularly were the best desserts there have ever been in the competition. The top three were really close but thanks to having such incredible judges, each with a different opinion, the results balanced out and the best chef won.”

For more information visit: www.craftguildofchefs.org or follow @Craft_Guild #NCOTY on Twitter.

Feversham Arms Hotel 10-course Charity Dinner – A tasting of Yorkshire

A fantastic evening is planned for the 1st December at The Feversham Arms celebrating Yorkshire produce www.fevershamarmshotel.com

Using produce such as Yorkshire Venison, Pork, Chicken , Beef , Cheese and of course Whitby Crab will be Steve Smith – Bohemia, Adam Smith – Devonshire Arms, Matt Tomkinson – Montagu Arms , Mark Poynton and Ellen de Jager, one of the countries most talented Pastry Chefs

There is an invite for 4 colleges to attend –  3 on Canapés and 1 on Petit Fours.  Please come up with an idea and send it to Murray Chapman – and your ideas will be presented to Norman MacKenzie, Head Chef at The Feversham Arms and Rebecca Hill.

The colleges that are invited to attend will be notified 11am  - 28th October 2015 .

Raising money for 2 Great Charities Make A Dream and The RSPC

For more information Feversham Arms Hotel 10-course Charity Dinner Special Guest Chefs  and Rebecca Hill on 01756 770766 or stay@fevershamarmshotel.com

You can contact Murray on FIRST CONTACT CHEFS, Tel:  0114 2458696,

Email: Murray@firstcontactuk.com Web: www.firstcontactuk.com Twitter: @murraykc


Eight facts you may not know about the Craft Guild of Chefs’ Graduate Awards

CGC Graduate Awards 2015Tonight we are celebrating young talent in our industry as we announce which chefs will be joining the Graduate Awards Hall of Fame for 2015. But before we make the all important announcement, here’s eight facts you may not know about the awards. Please send your messages of support via Twitter to @Craft_Guild and use the hashtag #CGCGradAwards.

  1. The Craft Guild of Chef Graduate Awards began in 2003 and up to 2014, just 43 graduates have achieved the pass mark.
  2. 32 of these graduates were men and 11 were female.
  3. Over the last 13 years 620 young people have entered.
  4. The following sponsors have been with us since day one – C.C.S, James Knight of Mayfair, Villeroy & Boch, The London Meat Company, Reynolds and Savoy Trust.
  5. We started working with two colleges and are now working with four for the examination process.
  6. Over the last 13 years 880 theory questions have been set and answered by 310 people, making an incredible 272,800 answers.
  7. Chicken for Saute and Filleting Lemon sole have been the most popular skills tests.
  8. Graduates Ben Champkin and Luke Selby went on to win The Craft Guild of Chefs Young National Chef of the year.

An exciting opportunity for six colleges

A fantastic opportunity has arisen for 6 Colleges ( 2 students and 1 lecturer from each College )

This is Going to be The Biggest  Flying Visit EVER! 27th September  - The Leather Bottle SW17 0NY

Charities – Wooden Spoon and Teenage Cancer Trust

The Dirty Dozen – TWO teams – 12 Dishes –  Dingley Dell – The Dirty Dozen Lead by Captain’s Adam Smith and Mark Poynton with some of the countries most inspiring Chefs

We would like to invite the students and  lecturers to work with each team – cook Great food and have a magic day.

All colleges will be put into a draw and The Captains will draw the colleges on Wednesday, 2nd September at 10 am.

PLEASE NOTE – there is NO accommodation at this event – sorry

Spotlight on Craft Guild of Chefs’ Graduate Awards finalist, Aaron Duffy

Aaron DuffyWhy did you decide to enter the Craft Guild of Chefs’ Graduate Awards?

I decided to enter the Graduate Awards after my mentor Barry Smyth had sent me an email with the criteria and decided that this was a great competition. I love to compete outside of Northern Ireland and see what other chefs are up to across the water.

What support did you have from your employer?

My employer has always been supportive of any competitions that I do which is always great for myself and the business.

How did you feel when you found out you had made the Graduate Awards final?

Making the final was Great! It was a nervous 12 days or so waiting for the results.. the semi finals were very tough and a high standard, to know my cooking and skills is worthy of a place in the finals is massive.

What have you been doing since the semi-final to prepare for the final exam?

Since the semi finals its been all go! I received the feedback and worked on areas I may have under performed in. Since we received the Spec for the finals its been practice practice practice.. Craft Guild also put on a brilliant 2 day masterclass in London based on skills and tests we will encounter on finals day, it was such a joy to take part in these days and so much was learned from my trip to London which will be great come finals day!

Which part of the final exam are you most looking forward to?

The final exam has a classical knowledge test, butchery and fish tasks, classical cookery test, mystery basket test and a pastry test! The best part about the graduate awards finals is, Its a exam and not a competition and thats what I love about it. Youre really competiting against yourself to produce the best score possible.

What would being a Craft Guild of Chefs’ Graduate mean to you and for your future career?

To achieve the 85% mark would be fantastic! It will give me a massive boost for my career and really raise my profile. I look forward to working hard and pushing on as a chef in a amazing industry and hopefully the graduate awards can help me in the process!

Spotlight on Craft Guild of Chefs’ Graduate Awards finalist, Nick Cottrell

Nick Cottrell 2015Why did you decide to enter the Craft Guild of Chefs’ Graduate Awards?

I have always taken training and learning seriously and as an important part of my work. These awards provided an opportunity for me to put my skills to the test and take part in a mentoring experience that I value.

What support have you had from your employer?

A great deal. They encouraged me to join, apply and attend – which was not always easy, living and working in Plymouth. They have made people aware of my involvement in the Craft Guild of Chefs generally and in these awards. They have sponsored me to attend as well.

How did you feel when you found out you were a finalist?

Relieved! Really very pleased. The semi-final was a challenge but it made me want to compete further and to experience the mentoring events organised for us. I would recommend it to young aspiring chefs and I am just so pleased to be in the final and have the chance to do my own personal best alongside a great group of chefs.

What have you been doing to prepare?

I have been able to put a new menu together for summer at the restaurant, so trying to ensure that I have some time to work with the produce we will be using in the final is important for me during a busy period at work. I’ve also been trying to put into practice skills from the mentor session!

Which part of final are you most looking forward to?

That keeps changing. But certainly the practical side and creating the dishes from the mystery box.

What would being a Craft Guild of Chefs’ Graduate mean to you and your career?

It would give me a great sense of personal achievement. The whole process from the semi-final right through is something to build on and gives you confidence. I hope to take these experiences with me, perhaps to other competitions and also of course reflecting what I have learnt into my work.  I hope that any success will reflect upon our small Independent restaurant and help people discover us.

Spotlight on Craft Guild of Chefs’ Graduate Awards finalist, Olivia Baggly

Why did you decide to enter the Craft Guild of Chef Graduate Awards?

A colleague who had won last year had suggested I should enter and I thought it would be a good challenge and an opportunity to develop my skills.

What support did you have from your employer?

I had a lot of support from my employer who gave me the time, ingredients and knowledge to practice and hone my skills for the tasks set. I also had extra support from my mentor helping me practice every task and putting in extra time for me.

How did you feel when you found out you had made the Graduate Awards final?

I felt very proud of myself and excited as I had worked really hard and set my sights on getting through to the final.

What have you been doing since the semi-final to prepare for the final exam?

I have being reading the Repertoire de la cuisine a lot and just practising the tasks ahead, as well as enjoying the trips to the meat and fish market.

Which part of the final exam are you most looking forward to?

I am really looking forward to the mystery basket, I am looking forward to the challenge, creating a dish there and then.

What would being a Craft Guild of Chefs’ Graduate mean to you and for your future career?

Being a Craft Guild of Chefs Graduate would mean a great deal to me it would be an amazing achievement and would broaden my horizons for the future.

Smokin’! – AAK Foodservice Launches Uncle John’s Hot Dogs

Hot dogs are reportedly now the fastest growing menu item in the UK1 and caterers can tap into Brits’ love for great American ‘dude food’ with AAK Foodservice’s smokin’ new launch.

Perfectly partnering the supplier’s comprehensive range of sizzling sauces, Uncle John’s Signature Hot Dogs are ideal for everything from fast food menus to gastro pub offerings.

The premium bockwurst sausages are made from the finest cuts of smoked pork and a tasty combination of herbs and spices, all traditionally smoked in an authentic Beechwood smoker.

To suit different foodservice operations, they come in a variety of lengths, from 14.5cm to a whopping 29cm, and four pack sizes, 10 x 50g, 7 x 72g, 7 x 90g and 9 x 140g.

Rachel Neale, foodservice marketing manager at AAK Foodservice, said hot dogs featured on 85% more menus than last year2 and caterers would be barking mad not to take a punt.

Hot dogs have nudged scampi and chips off the top 20 menu items3 and to help caterers tap into this, we’ve added Uncle John’s Signature Hot Dogs range to our portfolio,” she said.

“Ideal as a quick, tasty snack or as a main for those with sit-down areas, the beauty of these hot dogs is that caterers can easily add value to them, enabling them to charge more4.

“To coincide with the launch, we have come up with 10 top ways to tap into this ‘dude food’ while adding global flair using our Lion sauces.”

AAK’s top 10 hot dog ideas with Lion condiments:

1)   The German – serve on a board in a white, bread roll with fried, soft onion, accompanied by potato wedges and a pot of Lion Tomato Ketchup

2)   The Classic American – serve in a basket in a white, bread roll with Lion Tomato Ketchup and Mustard in a zigzag pattern, accompanied by curly fries and onion rings

3)   The Brit – serve on a plate in a brioche with fried, black pudding and bacon bits, accompanied by beans, hash browns and Lion Brown sauce and Tomato Ketchup

4)   The Italian – serve on a slate in a brioche with tomato and Lion Chilli sauce, melted mozzarella and pitted, halved green olives, accompanied by French fries and Italian salad leaves with Lion French Dressing

5)   The Mexican – serve on a board in a white, bread roll with cheese, Lion Hot Salsa, Lion Sour Cream & Chives and jalapenos, accompanied by nacho crisps, corn on cob and a small pot of Lion Hot Salsa

6)   The Chilean – serve on a plate in a white, bread roll with chilli con carne (made with mince beef, onions, kidney beans and Lion Very Hot Chilli sauce), cheese and jalapenos, accompanied by thick cut chips, onion rings and pot of Lion Garlic Mayo

7)   The Portuguese – serve in a basket in a baguette with chicken pieces and Lion Piri Piri hot sauce, accompanied by spicy rice, corn on the cob and a pot of cooling mayo

8)   The Oriental – serve on a board in a white, bread roll with stir fried vegetables and bean sprouts in a Lion Thai Sweet Chilli sauce, accompanied by spring rolls, prawn crackers and dips

9)   The Cajun – serve in a baguette in a white, bread roll with roasted peppers, onions and Lion Cajun & Tomato sauce, accompanied by homemade chips and side salad, drizzled with Lion Garlic & Herb Dressing

10) The Big Texas BBQ – serve on a slate in a white, bread roll with smoky bacon   strips, chicken strips and Lion American Smokey BBQ sauce, accompanied by chunky chips, coleslaw, corn on cob, beer battered onion rings and side salad, drizzled with Lion Ranch Dressing with pots of Lion BBQ Sauce and Ranch Dressin

For more information, visit www.unclejohnshotdogs.co.uk or for more on Lion sauces and recipes ideas, visit www.lionsauces.co.uk. Alternatively, call 01482 332100.