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.

Global Grill! Exotic Barbecue Dishes in Demand, Survey Reveals

Over half of Brits (55%) would be interested in seeing more exotic barbecue options when eating out, according to a new survey from AAK Foodservice and its Lion sauces range.

Caterers looking to spread their barbecue wings might also be interested to know this figure rises to 81% of 18-24 year olds, a demographic clearly keen to get their global grill on.

Celebrity chef ‘BBQ Ben’ Bartlett, the first Britain’s Best BBQ’er and the new ambassador for Lion sauces, said: “With increasing travel and exposure to a wealth of wonderful cultures, consumers in the UK are now much more adventurous and it makes sense that this has extended to their interest in barbecue food that brings in more exotic flavours.

“Whether you are a pub or restaurant serving up barbecue food grilled in the kitchen or flinging open the back doors and getting the coals and gas going, the world is literally your oyster, from tropical chicken incorporating juicy pineapple and passion fruit and Oriental vegetable kebabs with a peanut dressing, to Hungarian paprika chicken with barbecue corn on the cobs.”

Overall, the Lion sauces survey, conducted by Populus Strategy Research, revealed that almost half of Brits (48%) are likely to consider ordering a barbecue dish when eating out.

Again, indicative of young adults’ interest in barbecue food, this figure rises to 69% of 18-24 year olds, falling to 32% in the 65+ age group. In terms of marinades and dips, 73% respondents agreed that barbecue sauces enhanced meat, 34% agreed they enhanced vegetables, while 29% agreed they enhanced fish.

Getting saucy

It was sticky barbecue sauce that was the most appealing in terms of barbecue-based options, and when respondents were quizzed further they picked both barbecue and tomato ketchup as their top two choices overall when barbecuing.

Presentation was also considered to be important when eating out with 52% preferring small dishes over sachets.

Lion’s barbecue sauces (2.27ltr) comprise American Smokey BBQ, Hickory BBQ and Sticky BBQ sauce, while caterers can also tap into demand for more exotic barbecue options by utilising the likes of Hot Piri Piri, Thai Sweet Chilli, Tomato & Chilli or Very Hot Chilli sauce.

As one of the UK’s foremost demonstration chefs, Ben Bartlett is President of the British BBQ Association and competes all over the world with The Best of British BBQ Team. He is also a regular face on the likes of This Morning and Ready Steady Cook.

For more information, visit www.lionsauces.co.uk.

Prestigious food festival travels to the north east

Universal Cookery and Food Festival

Universal Cookery and Food Festival

Chefs of all levels are invited to travel north with the universal cookery and food festival as it heads to ‘the foodie gateway to Hadrian’s Wall’ otherwise known as Vallum Farm, Northumberland for its fourth year.

This is the first time that the festival, which is designed by chefs for chefs, has been held in the north of England. Once again, Craft Guild of Chefs representatives John Feeney, Lee Maycock and Ian Nottage are driving this unique event to give chefs up and down the country the opportunity to get outside in a relaxed environment, meet and talk directly with game-keepers, farmers, growers and food producers as well as get close to industry respected chefs and operators.

The festival offers a packed programme of events including a farmers’ market where chefs can experience a wide range of national as well as local food, drink and equipment suppliers and take the opportunity to gather some real inspiration to take back to their own kitchens.

There will be a wealth of on-trend topics and demos taking place over the course of the day with the festival line up including Kenny Atkinson, House of Tides, Sat Bains chef patron of Restaurant Sat Bains as well as Aaron Mulliss and Nick Beardshaw, two of the chefs behind the scenes in Tom Kerridge’s kitchens.

Visitors will be challenged to see if they can eat away the fear as entomophagy appears on the line up, fulfilling the brief to showcase current trends. “It’s not something from the local area but it’s a trend emerging from places such as Bristol and London that we can take up with us and we like to do something that is a bit left of centre” says Maycock. Demonstrations along this line will see Seb Holmes and Thom Lawson of the Smoking Goat, Soho, cook dishes and make cocktails from their new insect cookbook with EatGrub.

The festival will also give a nod to well-known experienced chefs who will share their pearls of wisdom with the audience in a reverse take on last year’s ‘Rising Stars’ which showcased the up and coming talent of the industry. Speaking in the session is the likes of Terry Laybourne from 21 Hospitality Group and John Williams, Executive Chef, The Ritz.

The brand new Innovation Zone headed up by Infusions4Chefs’ Jeremy Medley will provide a hotbed of food innovation and learning as he teams up with the festival’s headline sponsors to showcase the latest in culinary innovations.

Attendees will be able to sample a wide range of food at the event, which will draw to a close with an evening barbecue, local band and free beer in the shadow of Hadrian’s Wall.

Tickets for the universal cookery and food festival 2015 are priced at £99 +VAT per person. The ticket price includes coach transfers to and from Newcastle train station, access to the full event, refreshments and evening event. To book your place or to express interest in featuring your company at the event please visit www.cookeryandfoodfestival.co.uk or call 01293 854403.

FlexiCombi Tops Tables on Energy Comparison Database

MKN’s award-winning FlexiCombi MagicPilot is outshining the competition on a database designed to promote the transparency of energy consumption of commercial appliances.

The versatile combi tops the tables in many categories* on the HKI CERT Commercial Catering Equipment online database, a central platform which allows users to directly compare the efficiency and ‘green’ credentials of equipment from leading manufacturers.

Features which particularly stand out include MKN’s GreenInside feature and the triple glazed door and heat exchanger, which helped the FlexCombi win the Asian Catering Equipment (ACE) award at China’s leading food and hospitality trade show HOFEX earlier this year.

GreenInside shows operators just how much energy and water has been used during each cooking process and records the total consumption over the life of the product.

Crucially, this provides transparency in energy and water consumption, with the figures displayed directly on the touch display following each cooking process to make full cost accounting possible to control economic efficiency in energy use.

The FlexiCombi’s triple glazed door offers a potential energy saving of up to 28% compared to previous MKN combi steamers, while the heat exchanger can save around 1 kWh of energy per operating hour compared withprevious MKN technology.

Put simply, if you used the FlexiCombi for eight hours, three hours steaming veg, potatoes and rice, for example, and five hours convection cooking, you could save more than £400 a year on energy costs thanks to the insulated triple glazing and heat exchanger alone.

Energy is also saved thanks to the FlexiRack cooking chamber and its high capacity benefits.

With the energy consumption of products increasingly becoming the focus of interest of customers and policy makers, the HKI CERT Commercial Catering Equipment database was launched by the HKI Industrial Association for House, Heating and Kitchen technology and its members to enable users to objectively compare energy-related product data.

For more information, visit www.mkn.eu or call 07866 883655.

*compared to 1/1 appliances

MKN BUILDS ON LINKS WITH CATERING EQUIPMENT CONSULTANTS

MKN has built on its links with professional kitchen design consultants by becoming a corporate member of the leading association representing them worldwide.

The thermal cooking technology specialist has stepped up its role with the Foodservice Consultants Society International (FCSI) to have more interaction with members in the UK.

Stuart Long, UK sales and marketing director for award-winning MKN, said: “The UK is one of the top markets for MKN equipment, our clients including everyone from the Houses of Parliament and Heathrow Airport to Michelin starred chef Tom Kerridge and the Shangri-La Hotel, as well as less well known, but equally invaluable, clients from across the sectors

“Success in a commercial kitchen is a direct result of great, professional kitchen design and having close co-operation with specialist consultants is key to achieving the best end result possible. By becoming a corporate member of the FCSI, we are able to use our 70 years of expertise and commitment to the highest quality standards to meet the challenges in commercial kitchen design and provide even more support, wherever possible.”

This will enable MKN to maintain close contact with UK members, but also in excess of 1,300 industry experts in 46 countries who form the consultants’ society’s membership

The FCSI is the leading association for promoting professionalism in foodservice and hospitality consulting, its members offering a range of consulting services including concept development, feasibility studies, food safety, design, marketing, operations and training.

For more information, visit www.mkn.eu or call 07866 883655.