The National English Junior Team - made up of UCB students and alumni - has been ranked in the top 12 teams in the world following an unprecedented performance at the Culinary World Cup.
The nine young chefs are on cloud nine after bringing home a silver medal for both their contemporary buffet and hot kitchen skills at the toughest culinary arts tournament on the planet, scoring almost straight marks for their service presentation and mis en place.
Competing against 13 teams to make the finals of the behemoth of a competition in Luxembourg, from Slovakia to Thailand, this puts the England youth team in at 11th out of 200 in the world.
It also means they automatically receive a place in the World Cup’s sister competition, the Culinary Olympics, in 2020, which, barely off the plane, the team has already started training for.
Team manager Mathew Shropshall said the team put on an unbelievable performance, their dazzling buffet selection including everything from fois gras macaroons to langoustine and fennel bon bon, and caught the attention of many of the other teams and top chefs.
“I lost count of the amount of fantastic feedback from those watching our team compete, commenting on their professionalism and positivity,” he said.
“This is the best result we’ve had at the competition, beating our bronze and silver in 2014, and we have become a global player, a powerhouse, and we are already gearing up for the next competition to try and match the Scandinavian countries who win double golds.”
Peter Griffiths MBE, President of the British Culinary Federation, which sponsors the team, said: “It was a pleasure to witness the results of the team’s hard work and commitment.
“Representing your country is a huge responsibility and since the formation of the BCF, England’s national culinary teams have been a true success story, competing at world events. This has only been possible through the foresight and determination of a few, the hard work and commitment of many and the generous help and support from industry and sponsors, Continental Chef Supplies, Electrolux, Major International, Bidfood and UCB.
“I am delighted for all concerned, it has been a fabulous achievement for England's Junior National Culinary Team to bring home double silver medals. An excellent result.
“Wearing my other hat as Governor at University College Birmingham, it is very pleasing to see past UCB students excelling in the industry and to see some of them joining the national team and past student Edward Marsh as one of the junior team mentors, it makes me very proud.””
Mathew added: “It continues to be a real honour to represent England at international culinary competitions and watch them continue to develop as a team. During the 18 months of preparations, team members gave up weekends, attended team meetings, cooked the BCF annual awards dinner and supported the Young Chef Academy graduations.
“They are all a credit to their families, employers and UCB.
“I’d also like to thank chef mentors Luke Tipping from Simpsons Restaurant and Mark Hill from the Houses of Parliament for recipe development and feedback.”
Between the senior and junior national teams, a total of 75 countries ranging from Algeria and Australia to Vietnam and Vanuatu took the Culinary World Cup stage across different categories.
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