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Chef v Chef competition 2014 - Winners announced

Homewood Park sweeps the board!

One local Head Chef is cooking up a dining dynasty. For his two protégés have followed in his footsteps and won top prizes in a prestigious contest, being run in Bath for the ninth year.

The victor in Chef v Chef 2014 over 23s competition was Homewood Park’s Martin Blake, matching the achievement of his boss, Wojciech Nawalka, who had previously taken the award. But the icing on the cake came when 19-year-old Alex Brownrigg also picked up gold in the under 23s section.

Former Art Design and Media student, Martin, has a passion for the presentation of his food which he used to great effect with a recipe for poached pollock, roast beetroot, spinach, burnt apple and pomme puree followed by Dark chocolate mousse, ganache, macadamia nut and cranberry crumb.

“Winning silver last year was a great experience. I had some really helpful feedback from the judges which gave me the confidence to feel I could do even better and helped iron out mistakes and improve my performance.”

“Also, the competition was a great laugh. I’ve enjoyed three years of making new friends in the business, swapping a few ideas and importantly meeting people who share the same dreams,” said Martin.

Alex Brownrigg started his cooking career washing up at a Farm Shop and he was shocked to find himself in first place with his meal of pan seared breast of Poissin, Sweet potato, Parma Ham and Shallot followed by white chocolate mousse, with almond and Griottine cherries.

“This was the first competition I have entered and I was really surprised to hear my name read out as the winner. A lot of people said I should enter so I put a lot of work into the preparation and it was an amazing experience, cooking in front of some big name judges,” said Alex.

Head Chef Wojciech said: “I successfully took part in the Chef v Chef competition four or five times and I found it was a great challenge for myself and those taking part to improve their skills. I am so proud of the boys. They work long hours in the kitchen, which in itself is a challenge for such young people. The competition is an opportunity for them to meet other good chefs and the very well respected judges who try our food and give us important feedback. I hope this will spur them both on to the next challenge.”

The Chef v Chef competition took place in the Shrubbery Restaurant at the City of Bath College where the two categories, over 23’s and under 23’s were judged by a team of renowned Chefs – Celebrity Chef, Martin Blunos, Head Chef of Woods Restaurant, Stuart Ash, Scott Lucas of Craft Guild of Chefs, Jonathan Newberry of The Valley Smokehouse and. Cash Prizes, Bath Aqua Glass trophies, Estages, Memberships of the Craft Guild of Chefs, Champagne and other prizes were on offer to the top performers.

Over 23s Silver award went to Matt Flowers of The Porter, Bath and the Bronze award went to Daniel Edwards of the Marlborough Tavern, Bath.

Under 23s Silver award – Katherine Stamp of The Castle Hotel, Taunton and the Bronze award to Jack Barrett of The Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath.

Steve Benison, from City of Bath College, the organisers of the chef v chef competition, with the support of Judges, sponsors, college staff and students awarded certificates to all of the 2014 finalists, who had worked hard to make the competition such a success. Steve said: “Winning a Chef v Chef award not only gives the contestant more confidence but it is a useful addition to their CV.”

Matthew Stephen, of Main Sponsors, Catering Services International said: “Once again we saw an impressive line-up of skilled Chefs demonstrating their culinary excellence, perfect flavours and high quality presentation expected in the industry today. It's great to see Chefs returning in the competition to prove they can stay on top of their profession."

Sandy Bell General Manager of Bath Chamber of Commerce and the Initiative in B&NES, said: “A lot can be achieved if we work together to promote high quality cooking and help improve the confidence and skills needed in this area of business. It can only add to the successful economic development of our area.”

The competition is open to contestants within a fifty mile radius of Bath and is driven by a partnership between the City of Bath College, Bath Chamber of Commerce and the Initiative in B&NES, Catering Services International and Woods Restaurant. It is well supported by other local sponsors.

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.