The results from the Bath College Chef V Chef competition…. Lewis won the Under 23 Competition! Well done Lewis, we’re very proud of you.
Here’s the Bath College Press Release with all of the details!
Chefs felt the heat of the kitchen as they tried to beat the clock to whip up the meal of their lives.
The young hopefuls put their speed, artistry and creativity to the test in the Chef v Chef competition at The Shrubbery Restaurant at City of Bath College.
The prestigious cook-off, which is in its eighth year, saw 11 chefs going head-to-head to try to reach the top of the gastronomic pecking order.
They had two-and-a-half hours to impress the judging panel with their individual menus of a main course and a dessert using a supplied list of ingredients.
TV celebrity chef Martin Blunos, Jonathan Newberry from The Valley Smokehouse in Bristol, and Scott Lucas from The Craft Guild of Chefs marked each competitor for hygiene, presentation and working methods.
But it was Lewis Dixon from Lumiere in Cheltenham and Steve Whittaker from Graze in Bristol who stomped to success to be named the culinary champions.
Lewis, who won the under 23s category, said it was his first competition so he hadn’t known what to expect and really didn’t think he would win.
He said: “I was really nervous, but I have learnt so much.
“It was a great experience and to be judged by such great chefs is an honour, it was also really great to be able to speak to them afterwards and get some feedback on my dishes and how I could improve them in the future.”
Under 23s competitors also included James Allen, Bishopstrow House and Spa, Warminster; Nicholas Benham, The Fox, Broughton Gifford; Andrew Campbell, Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath; Paul Goulding, Stanton Manor Hotel; and Hayley Smith, The Bath Priory Hotel and City of Bath College apprentice.
It was the second year in a row that Steve walked off with the over 23s first prize, but he insisted he preferred “simple, straight forward food rather than fancy gastro food.”
He said: “I feel very pleased that I’ve won twice, it feels really good, it’s given me a massive confidence boost.
“I believe in making the best out of any ingredients, but it wasn’t easy as the other competitors were so good.”
The 28-year-old admitted he had been “a little nervous” but said the secret to his success was to repeatedly practice before the competition.
He said: “It is difficult to do it all in the time limit, but it was all about being organised and pushing myself.”
Also competing in the over 23s category were Christian Abbott, Brace & Browns, Bristol; Martin Blake, Homewood Park Hotel, Bath; Christian Orner, Le Petit Chou Fleur Fine Cuisine, Bournemouth; and Marcin Piecha, George and Pilgrim Hotel, Glastonbury.
Former City of Bath College catering student Christian, 29, said it was good to return to the kitchen where he had started out and he would benefit from the judges’ feedback.
Judge Jonathan Newberry was full of praise for the competitors saying working against the clock was “much more difficult than it looks”.
He said: “The competition was very close as the standard was so high. It was a great experience for the chefs and will help boost their careers.”
Steve Benison, Catering lecturer at City of Bath College, said the competition promoted culinary excellence by giving chefs the chance to put their innovative kitchen skills to the test.
He said: “This competition brings to the forefront all the potential stars we have in restaurants in and around Bath. It puts us on the culinary map.”
City of Bath College students also played a part in the culinary challenge as they helped competitors prepare their dishes.
Rosie Debens, Catering and Hospitality Level 1 VRQ student at City of Bath College, said: “The chefs didn’t know our kitchen so we were finding whatever they needed. There was also loads of washing up to do!
“It was a bit frantic but a great experience as we learned so much from watching them at work.”
To enter the competition, chefs within a 50 mile radius of Bath city centre were invited to submit their menus. The cook-off between finalists and awards ceremony took place at City of Bath College on February 7.
Both winners were given £250 cash, a week’s work placement at a top Michelin-star restaurant and a bottle of champagne.