December 2015

UCB chef Anthony Wright is the UK's candidate for Bocuse d'Or European selection

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This article was written by Neil Gerrard,  published in The Caterer.

The UK team for the prestigious Bocuse d'Or culinary competition, has announced the candidate and commis chef who will take part in the competition’s European selection in Budapest, Hungary, in May 2016.

The UK's candidate will be Anthony Wright, a senior chef lecturer who runs the Atrium restaurant at University College Birmingham.
Wright is a classically trained chef who has worked at some of the UK's top kitchens including for Pierre Koffmann at La Tante Claire. The greatest influence of his career to date is Nico Ladenis, for whom he worked at Chez Nico Battersea, Chez Nico at Great Portland Street and Nico at 90.

His selection as the UK's candidate comes after it emerged that Christian Grebenstein, who won a closely contested cook-off held at Le Cordon Bleu in London in September, would be unable to compete for the UK in May.

Wright was a close second in that competition, just a few points off Grebenstein, and has now taken up the mantle.

Supporting him in his attempt will be commis chef Jack Gameson, also from University College Birmingham. Gameson recently secured third place in the British Culinary Federation Young Chef of the Year final.

This year's brief for the European selection is to prepare a fish plate using sterlet (Acipenser ruthenus) with its caviar, and a meat platter of young red Hungarian deer.

In his preparation, Wright will be working closely with the extended Bocuse d’Or team, which includes: Team UK president Brian Turner, president of the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts; restaurateur Dr Andreas Antona, chair of the Bocuse d’Or UK Academy; John Williams, executive chef of the Ritz London; Nick Vadis, culinary director Compass Group; and Idris Caldora, executive chef of Chefs Adopt a School.

"Anthony is a very talented chef and it's great to have someone with so much experience and passion for cooking representing the UK. Being based in Birmingham means that he will have plenty of access to the replica Bocuse d'Or kitchen at UCB, which was a key component of Adam Bennett's success in 2013. He will also be given time away from his day job to prepare, which we now know is essential to success."

Brain Turner

Meanwhile, Team UK also announced that it would reposition its bid to host the Bocuse d'Or Europe in London, opting to bid to host it in 2020, rather than 2018.

The decision follows months of preparation and liaison with key public and private organisations - time that Team UK said would be invested into ensuring a winning bid and the level of support required for hosting a successful continental qualifier in 2020. 

"Hosting the Bocuse d'Or Europe requires a significant amount of financial commitment from public bodies. We had to be realistic about what was achievable within the timeframe, particularly given the current economic restraints. Having met with key decision makers and generated strong interest in the competition from both public and private sector organisations, we are in the strongest position yet to be bringing the Bocuse d'Or to London. We have a fantastic food scene here so we know that we could put on a fantastic and memorable contest. We'd love to hear from anyone in the industry who wants to be involved."

Brian Turner

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