UCB scoops gold and "best of the best" title at top chef competition

January 2015

University College Birmingham’s student culinary team has scooped gold at one of the UK’s most prestigious chef competitions.

The UCB team, led by chef lecturer Mat Shropshall, scored top marks at La Parade des Chefs at the Hospitality Show at Birmingham’s NEC.

UCB was one of three teams taking part in the contest and shared gold with the Combine Services team comprising Armed Forces chefs.

However, the University was also awarded the ultimate accolade of being the top La Parade des Chefs team – making it “the best of the best.”

La Parade, the show's fine dining experience, was given a new theme this year as a junior talent event. Each team had to feature five junior chefs mentored by one senior chef. All junior members had to be aged 23 or under on 1 January 2015 and cooked in a special glass-walled kitchen for 100 covers at the show.

It was a UCB take-over of the competition on the final day as the front-of-house operations were also provided by the University’s restaurant service students.

The award-winning UCB menu was:

Starter – pan-fried farmed halibut, crab “bon bon,” pickled onion, radish and cucumber, Romanesco purée, seaweed crumb, dill velouté.

Main course – peppered venison loin, pommes Anna, fennel and ginger, wilted greens, wild mushrooms, lamb’s sweetbreads, port and rosemary jus.

Dessert – Valrhona orange chocolate mousse, orange jelly, blood orange sorbet, chocolate soil, crème Anglaise, caramel wafer.

This is a superb achievement by the students. The meal was perfectly executed. The flavours were really clear and prominent and the balance of textures was spot on. It was a truly gold medal performance. It was also terrific to see UCB’s front-of-house team perform so well, as they did throughout the three days of the event. Both our young chefs and restaurant service students are a credit to the University.

Neil Rippington, Dean of the University’s College of Food,

All the La Parade teams had to create a £32-a-head menu using ingredients with a food cost of at least 68% gross profit.

The third team to compete, Compass Group, was awarded bronze.