December 2014

Bocuse d'Or fundraising dinner nets £25,000 for world title tilt

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A fundraising dinner held at University College Birmingham raised £25,000 to support Team UK in the Bocuse d’Or, the world’s most prestigious culinary competition. 

The five-course dinner was prepared by the University’s Level 3 catering students with fish provided by M & J Seafood and meat by Aubrey Allen. A Champagne reception was sponsored by Moet & Chandon, and Paul Bocuse wines were donated by Berkmann wines. 

The event was held to raise funds to support Adam Bennett and Josh Allen, a UCB Culinary Arts Management student, before they head to Lyon for the Bocuse d’Or World Final on Tuesday, January 27.  The money will go towards the cost of sending the team to Lyon, raising awareness of the competition in the UK and subsidising the student supporters. 

The event was organized by UCB Vice Chancellor and Principal Prof Ray Linforth and restaurateur and UCB governor Andreas Antona and was attended by team president Brian Turner and coach Idris Caldora. Former BBC swimming commentator Hamilton Bland hosted an auction which included generous prizes donated by the industry and top chefs. 

Bocuse d’Or Team UK has also revealed its promotional poster in which Bennett, Allen and Caldora are pictured in front of Kenilworth Castle, Warwickshire, which is near The Cross, the Michelin-starred pub restaurant run by Bennett. 

It will be the second final for Bennett, who achieved the best result ever for the UK when he finished fourth with commis chef Kristian Curtis in 2013. 

In next month’s final, the 24 chefs will have just under six hours to prepare, cook and present two lavish courses for the judges comprising guinea fowl “Fermière des Landes, Label Rouge” and French origin trout. The rules specify 50 per cent of the fish plate must comprise vegetable or fruit-based ingredients sourced from a market the day before the contest. 

The meat course must include three garnishes and will be divided into 14 portions for the jury. 

UCB acts as the training HQ for Team UK. Dish development and full-scale run-throughs are held in a specially-built Bocuse d’Or kitchen, the measurements for which match those of the units the chefs have to use in Lyon in the competition hall. 

Team UK’s competition platter will be produced and supplied by Heritage Silverware, a Birmingham-based family business that supplies bespoke tableware to many of the world’s finest hotels and restaurants.

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