Congratulations to our FOUR chef apprentices who scooped FOUR medals in the prestigious Salon Culinaire competition at the Hotel Restaurant and Catering Show
The four chefs were also taking part in the first round of HIT’s ‘Fired Up’ chef apprentice competition. Jo Start won gold, Emma Living won silver, and Max Hastings and Sebastien Montefiore were both awarded bronze medals.
All four apprentices, who won a place in Salon Culinaire’s ‘The Apprentice Challenge’ after entering our ‘Fired Up’ chef apprentice competition, wowed the judges with their culinary skills at the Hotel, Restaurant & Catering (HRC) event at ExCel London.
The four HIT chef apprentices were the four highest scorers out of the nine finalists in ‘The Apprentice Challenge’ which saw them competing against college apprentices from across the country…
As well as a gold medal for highest overall score, Jo won ‘Best in Class’ for her prepping of the lemon sole. Judges described her final dish as a “masterclass in balance, precision and execution” and as part of her prize, she will take part in a 2-day culinary study tour of Venice.
The apprentices faced tough competition on the day.
During the stage one ‘Skills Challenge’, they had to prep a lemon sole and break it into fillets. Stage Two was the ‘Live Theatre Cook-Off’ where each apprentice was given an hour to plan and create a main course dish using the lemon sole and a box of mystery ingredients. The challenge was then to cook and serve a restaurant-quality meal for two covers in a live cook-off under the glare of cameras and a live audience – in 45 minutes!
We’re proud to say all our apprentices faced the challenge with confidence and a smile!
Marks from both stages of the competition were used to award winners, with judges giving points for hygiene, technical skills, correct uniform, flavour and composition, and presentation.
The winning dishes
Chef de Partie Jo’s gold winning dish comprised poached lemon sole with caramelised shallot puree, sauteed potatoes with crispy lemon and olives, tomato petals, white wine cream reduction, spinach oil and charred lemon. Jo works for BaxterStorey’s Wellcome Genome Campus.
Emma, a Level 2 Commis Chef apprentice with Calcot Manor Hotel in The Cotswolds, served poached lemon sole with squid ink tapanade on a bed of spinach and baby leeks, and truffle tarragon cream and lemon brulee on the side.
JKS Restaurants Commis Chef Max served his lemon sole with pepper berry, lemon zest and salt, and potato puree with garlic and parsnip, using ground rice to make flour. Sebastien, a Chef de Partie apprentice with Chilston Park Hotel in Kent, dished up paupiettes of lemon sole with garlic roast new potatoes, buttered spinach, buttered romanesco and a fish cream sauce.
As you can see, our apprentices demonstrated an incredibly high standard of culinary skills to take them one to the next round of the ‘Fired Up’ competition.
Their craft, skill, knowledge and understanding will be put to the test once again in the ‘Pressure Test’ where apprentices will be judged on a three-course meal produced in their workplace. The final round is leading the kitchen brigade in a grand finale showcase dinner in October.
A huge well done to our apprentices who truly stole the show on the day and their employers who supported them.
Our mission is to unmask the future stars of hospitality and Jo, Emma, Max and Sebastien are ones to watch!
Their final recipes will be featured in a special ‘Made by Apprentices’ 2023 cookbook out later this year along with dishes from other ‘Fired Up’ contestants.
All our apprentices won a goody bag which contained a global knife with knife protector and tasting spoon thanks to www.knivesfromjapan.co.uk and an Ottolenghi cookbook.