Successful teams of young chefs have their eyes set on the title as the final of the Young Seafood Chef of the Year competition is set to get underway at The Grimsby Institute next week.
The competition organised by The Grimsby Institute and supported by Seafish, the public body that supports the £10bn UK seafood industry, aims to find the UK’s best young talent in the culinary sector – challenging them to prepare a three course menu using a variety of sustainable seafood products across three regional heats.
The annual competition, now in its 17th year, encourages those aged under the age of twenty-five, and currently enrolled in a full time course at college or university or those enrolled in an apprenticeship programme to enter. This year’s top nine teams have all successfully netted a place in the final after making their way through one of the regional heats last month.
Students from North Hertfordshire College, University of the West of London and Eastleigh College beat the competition in the first heat held in Norwich. The second heat of the competition was held in Sunderland with teams from Newcastle, Sunderland and Kendal colleges preparing the winning dishes.
The final three teams to make it through come from University College Birmingham, Salford College and hosts of the third heat, Coleg Llandrillo.
The successful teams will now compete against each other in front of a panel of industry judges at the final, which will be held at The Grimsby Institute on 14 June. This year’s final judging panel includes Daniel Clifford, chef patron of two-Michelin starred Midsummer House restaurant, Cambridge, and two-time winner of BBC Two’s Great British Menu.
Daniel said: “I am delighted to have been asked to be a judge in this highly acclaimed competition and am very much looking forward to seeing what the finalists and aspiring chefs produce.”
The other confirmed judges for the final are Emma Mckeating, Recognised Fishmonger under the Master Fishmonger Standard; Franck Pontais, Chef, Koppert Cress; Serge Nollen, Product Group Development Manager, Young’s Seafood Ltd.; Jamie Clews, Robot-Coupe; and Ben Bartlett, Master Craft Guild of Chefs and Seafish Chef Ambassador.
Nikki Hawkins, Trade Events Manager, Seafish, said: “Founded in 1996, the UK Young Seafood Chef of the Year continues to uncover incredible talent. The standard of cooking in this year’s heats has been exceptional, with each team impressing us with the culinary skill and creativity in their dishes.
This competition is highly regarded in the seafood industry and offers ambitious young chefs the opportunity to demonstrate their ability and confidence in working with a range of sustainable seafood, and the chance to potentially boost their future careers.”
Prior to the final, the teams will be invited to attend a filleting and knife skills masterclass with Ron Peacham, Blockman and lecturer from London’s Billingsgate Fish Market and Seafood Training School, in order to hone the students’ skills the day before the cook off for the chance to win the overall title.
As part of the final, and unlike the heats where the teams of young chefs are able to prepare their dishes in advance, the intermediate course in the final is replaced with an invention test. This aims to showcase the young chefs’ ability to create an inspiring dish where a mystery seafood ingredient must be the hero of the plate.
The winning team will receive a Koppert Cress ‘Cressperience’ trip to Holland; a Robot Coupe Robot Cook food processor; £500 each; £1,000 voucher for Russum’s catering equipment for their college; cookbook; competition trophy; competition medal and prize certificates. All winning recipes will also feature on the Seafood Week 2019 website.
The competition’s headline sponsor Seafish work alongside the other competition partners including: Young’s Seafood; Koppert Cress; Robot Coupe, Russum’s, Billingsgate Seafood Training School, Corney & Barrow Wines; The Big Prawn Company and Oak Ridge Hotel Group.
For more information on the results of the heats, visit the competition website.