After much deliberation, 11 finalists have been selected to compete in Petroc’s Chef of the Year Competition 2016 which, this year, will be held on May 23 at the college’s North Devon Campus.
Branden Wetherill - Level 2 Professional Cookery Apprenticeship
Stephen Harding - Cook & Finish Complex Fish Dishes Level 3
Ben Green - Level 2 Professional Cookery Apprenticeship
Edmund Hart - Level 2 Professional Cookery Apprenticeship
Jacqui Mock - Level 2 Professional Cookery Apprenticeship
Josh Dyson - Level 2 Professional Cookery Apprenticeship
Holly Warren - Diploma in Professional Cookery Level 2
Keiran Snape - Diploma in Professional Cookery Level 2
Farid Khidri - Diploma in Professional Cookery Level 3
Kate Harvey - Diploma in Professional Cookery Level 3
Kamil Borys - Professional Cookery Apprenticeship
The annual event, which is held in partnership with Philip Dennis Foodservice, was open to students on all food-related courses and gives them an opportunity to showcase skills they have learnt on their course. Each learner was required to submit a paper application, outlining their menu and the methods they would be using.
The head judge for the day will be Mark Dodson of the Michelin-starred Masons Arms in Knowstone. As part of the brief for the competition, the students were required to design and cost two dishes – a main using a lamb chump and a dessert of their choice - which would sit well alongside the restaurant’s menu. The winner will have the opportunity to work alongside Mark to refine their dishes, ready to be cooked and presented to an audience of selected guests at the restaurant later in the year.
This year, for the first time, the finalists are being invited to Philip Dennis Foodservices in Barnstaple on May 10 for a masterclass workshop. They will have the opportunity to watch a demonstration from a master butcher, to learn how to prepare their lamb chump, and will also have the chance to practise ahead of the competition. As part of the visit, Mark Dodson will also be giving a cookery demonstration, ably assisted by last year’s winner, Jake Hatch, who now works at the Masons Arms.
Jake will also be on the judging panel this year, alongside Mark, Nigel Yeo from Philip Dennis Foodservice and Hugh Judd from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).
Ben Green, who is currently on an apprenticeship at Saunton Sands, competed last year and is a finalist again in 2016. He said: “I’ll be practising loads between now and the competition, to get my dishes just right. Last year I thought I had everything under control up until the last 15 minutes, when it all went crazy! So, I’ll be mindful of my timings this year.”
Jacqui Mock, an apprentice at Broomhill, is also hoping that the experience of coming runner-up last year will help her this year. She said: “Last year I was swayed by what others were doing, and didn’t trust my gut instinct, so I’ll try not to do that again this year. Key to success on the day will be keeping to time, remaining calm and also trying to enjoy the experience.”