National English Junior Team made up solely of UCB students and alumni begin global culinary showdown

February 2020

The National English Junior Team - made up solely of University College Birmingham students and alumni - is about to begin its campaign at one of the biggest culinary competitions in the world.

Six chefs who learned or are learning their craft at the University are off to Stuttgart for the IKA Culinary Olympics from 14-19 February, a thrilling showdown which sees 2,000 chefs from over 70 countries attempt to wow judges with around 8,000 international menus.

The team, which will join the seniors out in Germany, will be serving up a menu fuelled by sustainability and featuring 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.

They will be captained and vice-captained by Culinary Arts Management graduates Jack Gameson and Elliot Lawn, who both won silver at the last Culinary Olympics and at its sister competition, the Culinary World Cup.

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

Former Level 3 Professional Cookery student Gregory Evans, who has also won silver at the two global competitions, and FdA Professional Cookery graduate Harrison Boddington will also make up part of the team.

At the age of just 18 and 19, the youngest members of the team are current Level 3 Professional Cookery students Cameron McNally – also a previous Young Chef of the Year finalist – and Luke Jeffs.

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

“During the past seven years, it’s been a pleasure to manage the National England Junior Team, developing the young talent and mentoring the new team members,” said Mathew. “Family, friends and the whole of England are so proud of the time, commitment and dedication shown by these young chefs to represent their country. It’s an honour.”

The Culinary Olympics is the world’s oldest and largest exhibition of culinary art organised by the Association of German Chefs. 

International teams of chefs compete in four categories – National Teams, Youth National Teams, Community Catering Teams and Military Teams.

As soon as the Olympic flame has been lit, competitors have only one objective. To gain as many points and bring home as many gold medals as possible.

The 2020 National English Junior Team’s appearance comes on the back of ranking in the top 12 teams in the world at the 2018 Culinary World Cup.

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