The heat is on to find Young Chef of the Year
On Friday 21 February, the UCB kitchens were hotting up as Wing Yip, the UK’s leading Oriental superstore, held the heats for Young Chef of the Year for the second year running.
The day saw 15 young chefs between the ages of 18-25, all employed in the hospitality industry or training at college or university, each cooking their own two-course Oriental menu. They were also tasked with selecting their own ingredients and techniques for the cook-off. The competitors then had exactly 105 minutes to showcase their culinary talents with the hope of winning the title and the award that went with it: a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Hong Kong where they will gain an insight into the hospitality industry and explore the region’s cultural highlights.
Amongst the finalists were two Culinary Arts Management students from UCB: Princia Fernandes (third year degree student), who cooked a starter of bang-bang monkfish and a main course of aromatic duck, and Aaron Delaney (fourth year degree student), who cooked a scallop dim sum starter and a main course of two-way quail (poached and confit).
Later in the day, the fruits of their labours were then judged by a trio of high-profile judges: Peter Griffiths MBE, President of the British Culinary Federation; Glynn Purnell, a Michelin star chef and restaurateur at Purnell's restaurant in Birmingham; and Ching He Huang, a British food writer, TV chef, and ambassador for Chinese cooking in Britain. Entrants were assessed on presentation, working approach, skill and technique, timing and authenticity.
Peter Griffiths said: “This is the second year the competition has run. Last year we were incredibly impressed by the use of flavours, presentation and creativity in the finalists’ dishes. It has certainly set the standard for this year and we are very much looking forward to seeing what this year’s chefs have to offer.”
After the evening’s presentation, the judges awarded first prize to Robert Hall, a chef at the House of Commons, with UCB’s Princia Fernandes being awarded second place.
Princia scoring so high in this competition is great news. She took the opportunity to showcase her culinary talent and professional approach. The judges were very impressed by her refined dish elements and attention to detail. This competition was extremely beneficial for Princia’s culinary development and will enhance her overall confidence and employability.
Last year’s winner was UCB student Joseph Vinten, who cooked a lobster spring roll starter and a quail breast main course. He is now working at the White Barn Inn in Maine, USA as a chef de partie.