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Chef v Chef competition 2009 - Winners announced

Michael Sharp of Bath has scooped the top prize in a prestigious regional cookery Grand Final.

The young star from the Royal Crescent Hotel walked away with the Over 23’s Gold award in the second West of England Chef v Chef cook off which was hosted at City of Bath College on Thursday. 

Michael said “I felt really exhilarated to hear I’d won the regional, but I was very confident with my cooking all the way through and happy with the results. In this business you’re always learning and trying to do your very best. You need to work with good food, a good head chef and team who will make you really think. I tried to keep it simple, keep it classic and to cook a menu that I would enjoy myself.

Cheltenham contestants took both the Silver and Bronze Awards in the same category. They were Scott Gallaway of Washbourne Court Hotel and Philip Olivant of Cheltenham Regency Hotel.

In the Under 23’s category the Gold Award winner was Louisa May Matthews who is studying at Worcester College of Technology and working at The Elms Restaurant. Louisa was followed closely by two Bath contestants, Ben McCubbin of the Royal Crescent Hotel, Silver and Michael Mellard, the Bronze Award.

The Gold Award winners were presented with cash prizes of £250 each and an a Chef v Chef regional Aqua Glass trophy.

Judged by Martin Blunos, Consultant Chef and TV Celebrity, Kevin Barratt, Sous Chef at Le Manoir Oux Quat’ Saisons and James Parkinson, Executive Head Chef of Von Essen Hotels, the concept for the contest was born in Bath as the result of a link up between the The Initiative at B&NES, the City College and main sponsor Andrew Berman of Catering Services International, all of whom were keen to promote the development of skills which would deliver top class dining in the City.

Bristol and Cheltenham later picked up the idea and held their own contests and were eager to put their champion chefs to the test in a regional battle over the hot plates. Each competitor had already achieved an award in their particular City competition.

Celebrity Judge Martin Blunos said “Taking part in competitions isn’t easy, just being there is an achievement for these young people. The experience of winning will make them much stronger characters with better self esteem and life skills and equipping them to be involved with really good businesses.”

Kevin Barratt, Sous Chef at Le Manoir Oux Quat’ Saisons, was particularly delighted to be invited to judge the competition because he had been trained at the City of Bath College in the 90’s under Lecturer and competition organiser Steve Benison.

“The Manoir has been pleased to get fully behind this prestigious competition over the past few years as it promotes all the right values. For example, it recognises the importance of giving skilled young people the chance to experience life in a good kitchen. This means they have a clear idea of what will be expected of them in the real world of work and will inspire them when they return to college to hone their skills. This was the first time I had seen the competition and I was very pleasantly surprised at the quality of the contestants and their level of skills.” 

About the Chef v Chef competition
Chef v Chef is open to all talented local chefs within a 50 mile radius of central Bath. The annual competition is a joint 'not for profit' venture organised by Bath City College, The The Initiative at B&NES, Catering Services International, the UK’s leading specialist in catering and hospitality recruitment.