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Best in the Class

 

The team at Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa have proven they clearly are the best in class after scooping Best Kitchen and Best Service awards at this year’s Cook & Serve Competition.

The successful event, organised and sponsored by The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO), saw nine teams go head-to-head in a 90-minute live cook-off at Hotelympia.

The aim of the competition was to provide an opportunity for both the front of house and back of house to work together and demonstrate the skills of both positions.

Open to catering teams from all sectors, each team consisted of three members: one chef, one commis chef and one front of house waiter. The challenge was to cook and serve a threecourse meal, with wine matches. They had to provide their own ingredients, equipment and a descriptive menu card.

The judges were John Cousins, director of the Food and Beverage Training Company, Paul Shanahan, operations manager at Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Daniele Quattromini, manager at Club Lounge 39 and winner of the 2015 Gold Service Scholarship, and Ian Stewardson catering advisor with the Royal Air Force. Judging took place during the meal.

For the waiter, judges were looking for; interaction between the waiter and their diners, product knowledge, table preparation, safety and hygienic practices, teamwork, food service skills and techniques, preparation, presentation and service. For the chefs, the judges looked for; content of the dishes, flavours, colours, textures and portion size, range of individual culinary skills demonstrated, teamwork, correct serving temperature of food and plates, attractive presentation, adhering to the competition criteria/timings, and clean, tidy and hygienic working practices.

“The Cook & Serve Challenge was a great success. It was brilliant to see so many teams representing the different sectors of the industry, from Michelin-starred hotel restaurants, to the military and universities; all of which brought their own individual styles of cooking and service,” said Julie Barker, chair of TUCO. “The talent was exceptionally strong, it was a very tough decision for the judges. I was impressed by the skill and professionalism of each of the contestants. To be able to create and serve a meal to such a high standard, and in front of a live audience, is something which each of the teams should be very proud of.”

“The Cook & Serve Challenge was a great success.” said Julie Barker, chair of TUCO

TUCO Cook and Serve Live Theatre      TUCO Logo

The team from Lucknam Park stood out to the judges for their overall professionalism and customer service skills on the day, as well as the high quality of their menu and matching wines which created a memorable experience for the diners.

“We’re over the moon to win and enjoyed the whole day from start to finish,” says Christopher Kidd, restaurants manager. “The competition provided the opportunity for the team to exercise their creative side and run with their own ideas. To be crowned the overall winner is something which we are all extremely proud of and after our success at Cook & Serve, the team are now looking to enter further competitions.” 

The teams:

  • Royal Holloway, University of London – Darren Coventry, executive chef for all kitchens and food production, Pooranavelupillai Baskaran, trainee chef in the Hub Kitchen and Terri Sadler, conference and events team leader
  •  Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, Bath – Celine Berthaut, junior head waitress, Elly Wentworth, junior sous chef and Joshua Murphy, commis chef
  • Combined Services Culinary Arts Team representing the UK Armed Forces – Corporal Liam Dummelow from RAF Benson, senior Aircraftman Aaron Marshall from RAF Benson and corporal Sophia Warland from RAF Odiham
  • South Lodge Hotel, Horsham – Jordan Kerridge, junior sous chef, Jack Robey, demi chef-de-partie and Alex Wells, commis sommelier
  • Investec and Royal College of Surgeons, Ampersand Catering – Andonis Paraskevas – executive chef at Investec, Anthony Adhen, chef-de-partie at Investec and Grant Sired-Huston, front of house placement student at the Royal College of Surgeons
  • RMB Chivenor, Sodexo – Daniel Ward, head chef, Michael Paynter, commis chef and Ian Ward, front of house team member
  • University College Birmingham – Elliot Lawn, student on a VRQ Level 2 course, Thomas Kirkby, student on a VRQ Level 2 course and Melissa Tofani, student
  • Farnborough College of Technology – Andy Smith, catering lecturer, Rebecca Laven, second year catering student and Corey Gunner, hospitality level 3 student
  • The Bell Hotel, Buckinghamshire – Alicia Nebbitt, head waitress, Damian Mankowski, head chef and Paul Capener, executive chef

Winning Menu

BY LUCKNAM PARK HOTEL & SPA

TO START

Ravioli of Cornish cod, Scottish scallops and Polkerris Bay mussels, with lambs lettuce and sea vegetables. Served with Saint-Bris Corp de Garde, J.H. Goisot, France, 2012

MAIN COURSE

Roast Creedy Carver duck breast with caramelised turnips, pistachio and pak choi. Served with Givry Village, Deliance Frères, France, 2011

DESSERT

Baked mango soufflé with coconut sorbet. Served with Rudera Noble Late Harvest, Stellenbosch, South-Africa, 2010

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