UCB chef lecturer lands place at final of "highest honour" awards
UCB chef lecturer Anthony Wright is on the brink of making history after making it through to the Master of Culinary Arts 2017 final, an award described by its director – executive chef at The Ritz John Williams - as the “highest honour in the catering industry”.
Anthony breezed through the semi-final at UCB, joined by some of the most esteemed culinary talent nationwide, including former UCB student Adam Smith, who is executive chef at Coworth Park Hotel and is described as “one to watch” by no less than Michel Roux OBE.
The semi-final brief was for three classic dishes, including a chicken consommé with fois gras royale, and iconic French dessert oeufs à la neige, both designed to demonstrate advanced technical skill and expose contestants’ professional, managerial and decision-making abilities.
The dishes were judged by towering figures in the industry, including André Garrett, Jeff Galvin and Brian Turner, who described all of the finalists as chefs of “exceptional skill”.
The MCA final will ramp up the pressure even further as participants cook one classic dish of up to eight dover soles, and another of up to eight partridges, completely from scratch.
Anthony said he was feeling “prepared and capable” for the final, but aware of how hard he and his commis chef, ex-UCB Culinary Arts Management student Jack Gameson, had to work.
“Winning the MCA would feel like an incredible achievement,” he said. “It’s such a technical competition that one small mistake could change everything – and we can all have bad days.”
Looking at the line-up of former winners, it is easy to see why Anthony might feel a little apprehensive. Celebrity chef Antony Worrall-Thompson and Michel Perraud, former head chef of the three Michelin-starred Waterside Inn, are just two winners of the elite group of MCA winners to have led glittering careers at the giddy heights of the restaurant business.
Whatever the outcome, to have made it this far is an amazing achievement, reaching the final requiring “grace, elegance and perfection”, according to judge John Williams MBE.
Finalists will congregate at UCB on Saturday, 23 September, where Anthony and Jack are looking forward to gunning for the internationally-recognised title in their very own kitchen. “It’ll be lovely to be on home turf,” said Anthony.