The Competition

South West Chef of the Year 2017

Martin Blake

 

 

 

 

Where could it lead you?

MC

“Taking part in South West Chef of the Year can provide a fantastic platform to further your career, even if you don’t win!  It’s a chance to demonstrate your skills to some of the South West’s top chefs and gain valuable publicity for your talents.  Many previous winners and finalists have gone on to achieve great things after being noticed by our judges!”

Michael Caines MBE

South West Chef of the Year recognises the skills and creativity of professional chefs, students, juniors and home cooks across the region and has been highlighting the exceptional standards within the South West’s hospitality industry since 2004.  Thanks to the dedication and commitment of our judges, we are privileged to be able to nurture and support the next generation of top chefs as they develop their skills from a young age.  And with a focus on the amazing array of produce available to us here in the South West, the competition helps us all to celebrate the region’s widely recognised acclaim as a leading culinary destination.

This is your opportunity to receive recognition for your culinary skills and gain valuable feedback from our prestigious panel of judges, made up of some of the finest chefs in the country! And just think what competing in South West Chef of the Year could do for your CV!     Take a look at our previous winners’ and finalists’ page to read about the successful careers they have gone on to enjoy.

Click here to see some of the action at the 2017 competition in our video

Many thanks to Steve Haywood for his photography and the video

Essence of the competition

The essence of the competition is to demonstrate skill, creativity in cooking and knowledge of produce from the South West of England.

Magic Kijewski

Professional finalist 2016, Magic Kijewski

 

Lead sponsor: Bidfood

Categories

The competition offers five categories:

Professional
Any age and working as a sous chef/pastry chef or above

Sponsored by Ritter Courivaud and Ritter Fresh

 

Young Professional
Aged 19-24, working in any role in the kitchen up to and including junior sous chef

Sponsored by Lympstone Manor and Michael Caines MBE

 

Student/Apprentice Chef
Aged 16-19 and at college or in an apprenticeship

Sponsored by Nisbets Catering Equipment

 

Home Cook
Aged 16+ and never having worked or trained in the catering industry

Sponsored by Ashburton Cookery School

 

Junior
Aged 11-16 and still at school

 

In addition to these categories, one winner will be selected by the judges to receive the overall award of South West Chef of the Year 2017

 

Click here to enter

Entry closing date: Monday 31st July 2017

 

 

 

 

 

Judging in progress!

 

 

 

Category Formats

Professional and Young Professional categories:

Entrants are asked to submit a proposed two-course menu for three people (a starter and a main course) using principally seasonal produce from the South West of England and incorporating specific protein ingredients nominated by our judges (see below).  When selecting your seasonal menu, please don’t forget that the semi-finals will be held at the end of September!  You are asked to send your full recipes and photographs of each of your dishes.

Compulsory ingredients

 

Professional Category

Saddle of lamb on the bone (6-7 rib bone best end) – kindly supplied by M C Kelly

Pollack  - kindly supplied by Kingfisher Brixham

Mussels - kindly supplied by Kingfisher Brixham

 

Young Professional Category

Pork tenderloin - kindly supplied by M C Kelly

Red Mullet - kindly supplied by Kingfisher Brixham

 

The ingredients selected by the judges must be included in all menus submitted by entrants in the Professional and Young Professional classes.  These ingredients may be used in either the starter or the main course and selected entrants will be provided with the required quantity of each of these ingredients for the semi-finals.  All other ingredients must be provided by competitors.

N.B. Competitors must only include elements in their dishes that can be prepared from scratch during the allotted competition time.  With the exception of home-made stocks, no pre-prepared elements will be permitted and if present, will be confiscated or discounted from the judging process.  See the bottom of this page for further important notes and rules of the competition.

Selected entrants in the Professional and Young Professional classes will be invited to attend the semi-finals on Saturday 30th September at Exeter College, where they will be asked to prepare their proposed menus for the judges in one and a half hours.  The judges will then select a number of finalists who will be invited to return for the final on Wednesday 25th October.

Chefs selected for the finals will be asked to prepare a three course meal for three people using compulsory protein elements announced one week before the final.  All other ingredients will be provided in a mystery box on the day.

Upon receiving their mystery boxes, finalists will have 30 minutes to draw up their three course menu before the competition begins.  Basic reference recipes can be referred to during the 30 minutes of preparation time.

Competitors will not need to bring any ingredients with them to the final, with the exception of pre-prepared stocks.  The judges will specify the types of stocks that will be permitted prior to the final.

Summary of brief for entry stage of competition

Menu: Two courses – starter and main

Ingredients: To include judges’ specified ingredients (above) in any course accompanied by seasonal and regionally sourced ingredients wherever possible

Quantity: To serve three

Time allowed: 90 minutes

Entry: Please send us the recipes (including method) and photographs for each dish entered

No pre-prepared elements permitted, with the exception of homemade stocks

Click here to enter

Entry closing date: Monday 31st July 2017

Young Professional finalist 2016, Lily O’Donoghue

Student/Apprentice Chef category:

There are two routes to entry for this category:

1. Firstly, through the catering colleges across the South West who are invited to put forward one student/apprentice chef for a guaranteed place in the semi-final to be held at Exeter College on Saturday 30th September. Colleges will be asked to select their chosen entrant through internal competitions.

2. A limited number of additional places are also available at the semi-final for individual student/apprentice chefs who may choose to enter directly.  Entrants will be selected to take these places based on the quality of their entry and menu which can be submitted directly through the entry form on this website.

Students/apprentices selected by their college or entering directly must submit to our judges their chosen two-course menu for three people using the protein ingredients nominated by the judges for this class in either course (see below).  When selecting your seasonal menu, please don’t forget that the semi-finals will be held at the end of September! You are asked to send your full recipes and photographs of each of your dishes.

Compulsory ingredients

Beef sirloin (untrimmed) - kindly supplied by M C Kelly

John Dory – kindly supplied by Kingfisher Brixham

Clams or cockles - kindly supplied by Kingfisher Brixham

 

Selected entrants will be invited to attend the semi-final on Saturday 30th September at Exeter College, where they will be asked to prepare their proposed menus for the judges in one and a half hours. Semi-finalists will be provided with the required quantity of the compulsory ingredients for the semi-finals.  All other ingredients must be provided by competitors.

The judges will then select a number of finalists who will be invited to return for the final on Wednesday 25th October.

Finalists in the Student Chef class will be asked to prepare another two-course meal for three people using further specified protein ingredients and will be notified of these ingredients two weeks in advance of the final. Finalists will be provided with the required quantity of the compulsory ingredients for the semi-finals.  All other ingredients must be provided by competitors.

N.B. Competitors must only include elements in their dishes that can be prepared from scratch during the allotted competition time.  With the exception of home-made stocks, no pre-prepared elements will be permitted and if present, will be confiscated or discounted from the judging process. See the bottom of this page for further important notes and rules of the competition.

Summary of brief for entry stage of competition

Menu: Two courses – starter and main

Ingredients: To include judges’ specified ingredients (above) in any course accompanied by seasonal and regionally sourced ingredients wherever possible

Quantity: To serve three

Time allowed: 90 minutes

Entry: Please send us the recipes (including method) and photographs for each dish entered

No pre-prepared elements permitted, with the exception of homemade stocks

 

Click here to enter directly

Entry closing date: Monday 31st July 2017

Home Cook category:

Entrants will be asked to create a main course and a dessert for two people using principally seasonal produce from the South West of England and incorporating one meat or one fish option plus a fruit option for dessert that is specified by the judges (see below).  When selecting your seasonal menu, please don’t forget that the final will be held in October!  You are asked to send your full recipes and photographs of each of your dishes.

Compulsory ingredients

Main Course

Saddle of lamb on the bone (6-7 rib bone best end) - kindly supplied by M C Kelly

OR

Sea Bass (whole) – kindly supplied by Kingfisher Brixham

Dessert

Fruits of the Autumn – kindly supplied by Total Produce

(apples, pears, quince, berries)

 

Successful entrants will be selected to prepare their menu in two hours at the final on Saturday 14th October at Ashburton Cookery School.  The winner will be announced at the awards presentation dinner on Wednesday 25th October.

Selected finalists will be provided with the required quantity of their chosen compulsory ingredients for the final.  All other ingredients must be supplied by the competitors.

N.B. Competitors must only include elements in their dishes that can be prepared from scratch during the allotted competition time.  With the exception of home-made stocks, no pre-prepared elements will be permitted and if present, will be confiscated or discounted from the judging process. See the bottom of this page for further important notes and rules of the competition.

Summary of brief for entry stage of competition

Menu: Two courses – main and dessert

Ingredients: To include judges’ specified ingredients (above) accompanied by seasonal and regionally sourced ingredients wherever possible

Quantity: To serve two

Time allowed: 2 hours

Entry: Please send us the recipes (including method) and photographs for each dish entered

No pre-prepared elements permitted, with the exception of homemade stocks

 

Click here to enter

Entry closing date: Monday 31st July 2017

Home Cook finalist 2016, Oonagh Egerton

Junior class:

Junior entrants are asked to submit a recipe (including full method) for a main course dish to serve two people.  The dish may be classic, modern, fusion or any style but should be created using predominantly South West regional ingredients.

Selected entrants will be invited to compete in a semi-final in their own county initially where they will be asked to prepare and plate up their dish for two people in one and a half hours.

Judges will select one winner at each county semi-final who will go through to the final to be held on Saturday 14th October at Ashburton Cookery School.  Each county winner will benefit from mentoring from one of our judges in advance of the final.

Finalists must prepare another main course dish, for two people, using the same principal ingredients as those used for their county semi-final.  You may choose to prepare the same dish again or an entirely different dish based on the same principal ingredients.  You are advised to take advantage of the advice and skills you may learn from your mentor chef when preparing your dish for the final!

Click here for more information about the junior category including the judges, mentors and the dates of the county heats.

Junior finalists 2016 – left to right: Ethan Macdonald (winner), Laura Phipps, Ashley Gilder, Abbie Brockway, Ethan Bull and Daisy Taylor-Botterill

Entries for the Junior category only closed on Tuesday 23rd May 2017

Entries for all other categories will close on Monday 31st July 2017

Rules and notes about the competition in general can be found below.

 

The Judges

Just some of our judges photographed during the 2016 competition

A number of the region’s most highly-esteemed chefs form our judging panel, bringing a vast array of knowledge and experience to the judging process.  Click here to read more about our prestigious panel of judges.

Our judges will select the semi-finalists (and Home Cook finalists) from among all entries received, evaluating each entry for the following:

  • the quality and creativity of the recipes
  • the balance of the two courses
  • the balance of the ingredients
  • the skills required to create the menu/dish
  • the use of ingredients from the South West region (from any of the six counties making up the South West: Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire)

Competition dates for 2017

  • Semi-finals of the two professional classes and the Student Chef class: Saturday 30th September, Exeter College
  • Finals of the Home Cook and Junior classes: Saturday 14th October, Ashburton Cookery School
  • Finals of the two professional classes and the Student Chef class: Wednesday 25th October, Exeter College
  • Awards presentation dinner: the evening of Wednesday 25th October, Exeter Golf and Country Club

Click here to enter

Entry closing date: Monday 31st July 2017

 

Awards presentation

An awards presentation dinner will be held on the evening of the final of the Professional, Young Professional and Student Chef classes, Wednesday 25th October, at Exeter Golf and Country Club.  Tickets will be available to purchase nearer the time.

A unique dinner will be prepared by three guest chefs – one of our judges and two previous winners of the South West Chef of the Year competition!  An outstanding meal and an evening not to be missed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional awards will be presented during the evening for the following:

  • Best Dish – sponsored by CaterPeople
  • Best Presentation
  • Best Showcase of Regional Ingredients – sponsored by WBW Solicitors
  • Best Menu

The awards presentation evening is sponsored by Exeter Golf and Country Club.

 

Click here to watch a video of South West Chef of the Year 2016

 

Rules and notes for competitors:

  • Entrants must be living or working in the six counties of the South West: Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire or Gloucestershire
  • Competitors must only include elements in their dishes that can be prepared from scratch during the allotted competition time.  With the exception of home-made stocks, no pre-prepared elements will be permitted and if present, will be confiscated or discounted from the judging process.
  • Photographs of all dishes entered must be sent when entering along with full recipes including the method.
  • Selected semi-finalists and Home Cook finalists will be asked to bring all of their own ingredients to the semi-finals/finals, with the exception of the compulsory ingredients nominated by the judges that must be included in all menus (with the exception of the Junior category).
  • Selected competitors are advised to bring all of their own equipment and presentation dishes to the competition to ensure that all required equipment is available.
  • Professional and Young Professional finals – finalists will be provided with all ingredients required to prepare their three course menus in the final.  Finalists will be informed of the protein elements that must be used one week before the final.  All other ingredients will be supplied in a mystery box 30 minutes before the competition starts.  During those 30 minutes, finalists must devise their menu and provide the judges with the name of their three chosen dishes before cooking begins.  Basic reference recipes can be referred to during the 30 minutes preparation time but these must be available for the judges to look through too. Detailed recipe collections will not be permitted.
  • Student/Apprentice Chef and Home Cook finals – finalists will be provided with the required quantity of the compulsory ingredients for the finals but are asked to bring all other ingredients with them.
  • Competitors must be within the stipulated age bracket on the day of the final of the class that they wish to enter.  Proof of age may be requested at the final.
  • The judging panel will be divided among the professional, young professional and student classes, since these take place on the same day.
  • If any of the judges knows of any of the competitors, they will not be included in the panel judging that particular competitor’s class.
  • Only the names of those selected for the semi-finals and finals will be publicised.  We do not make public the names of any entrants not selected for the semi-finals and finals.
  • Entries must be received by no later than midnight on Monday 31st July 2017.  There will be no extension to this closing date.
  • The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

IMPORTANT NOTES ABOUT COMPULSORY INGREDIENTS

  • Where the compulsory ingredient you are given is a whole bird or fish, you may use the whole bird or fish or any part of it in your dish.
  • At the competition, you will receive the ingredients whole and must prepare them as you wish within the competition time, including all butchery/filleting.
  • Pheasant, partridge and guinea fowl – you may use one or two whole birds but are asked not to order more than needed.
  • Seasonality – since Partridge and Pheasant are not currently in season, it is appreciated that you will not be able to use this when photographing your dishes for your entry.  For the purposes of demonstrating your presentation style, it is suggested that you use Guinea Fowl or Poussin. The judges will take this into consideration when judging all entries.
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any queries at all.  Click here for contact details.

South West Chef of the Year is run on a not-for-profit basis with the following aims:

  • to highlight the skill and creativity of the region’s professional chefs and amateur cooks;
  • to help nurture the next generation of top chefs;
  • to provide a platform from which chefs can highlight their skills and develop their careers;
  • to demonstrate the exceptional standards within the hospitality industry of the South West and to reinforce its profile as a region of culinary excellence;
  • to recognise the skills and dedication of the region’s home cooks
  • to highlight the diversity and quality of ingredients grown, reared and produced in the South West

 

We are fortunate enough to benefit from the generosity and support of a number of top chefs and suppliers to the industry.  We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our judges, suppliers, sponsors and, of course, all those who enter the competition.

Click here to enter

Entry closing date: Monday 31st July 2017

 

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