March 2020

Sensational silver for student chefs at global Culinary Olympics

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A menu driven by sustainability and featuring everything from rabbit to poached turbot earned The National English Junior Team - made up solely of University College Birmingham students and alumni – a coveted silver medal at one of the biggest culinary competitions in the world.

The team of young artists competed in the Restaurant of Nations category of the mammoth IKA Culinary Olympics, which sees 2,000 chefs from over 70 countries attempt to wow judges with around 8,000 international menus.

The challenge, which took place last month, entailed the preparation of a three-course menu for visitors, with England going up against Malaysia, Germany, Australia, Czech Republic and Romania in their group.

Six of the chefs who learned or are learning their craft at the University joined the senior team out in Stuttgart, Germany, for the thrilling showdown.

They were captained and vice-captained by Culinary Arts Management and FdA Professional Cookery graduates Jack Gameson and Elliot Lawn, who won silver at the last Culinary Olympics and at sister competition, the Culinary World Cup.

Both graduates have also been finalists in the British Culinary Federation’s Young Chef of the Year.

The team included former Level 3 Professional Cookery student Greg Evans and FdA Professional Cookery graduate Harrison Boddington, while at the age of just 18 and 19, the youngest members of the team were current Level 3 Professional Cookery students Cameron McNally – also a previous Young Chef of the Year finalist – and Luke Jeffs.

Greg said he was thrilled with the result and now had big ambitions. “I’d like to either have my own restaurant somewhere in the world. Working on private yachts is also definitely up there. I’ve always been interested in pastry as well, so running my own pastry kitchen would be a dream come true.”

Managing and co-managing the team were University College Birmingham chef lecturers Mathew Shropshall and Richard Taylor, both international award-winning chefs in their own right.

“I’m so incredibly proud of this team,” said Mathew. “You wouldn’t believe the talent out there at the Olympics and to take home a silver is testament to their sheer commitment. It’s a true honour to have led them in their quest.”

The team’s menu comprised a finger food buffet, a study of rabbit main, a fish platter including a poached turbot pave, and a dessert of chocolate and hazelnut delice, Cointreau, savarin sponge and blood orange sorbet.

The 2020 team's success comes on the back of ranking in the top 12 teams in the world at the 2018 Culinary World Cup.


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