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Chef v Chef competition 2015 - Winners announced

The tenth year of Chef v Chef, the area's most prestigious cooking competition, saw high quality contestants battling for the top prizes in front of a renowned jury of top professional judges.

And for the second year running it finished with two talented young chefs who had both won their categories last year, going head to head, with the student coming out on top of his master.

In a close run contest, the Gold Award in the new professional category went to 20-year-old Alex Brownrigg of the Manor House, at Castle Combe, who won the Under 23's category last year. His former colleague, Martin Blake, of Homewood Park Hotel and last year's winner of the Over 23's, took the Silver Award, Bronze was picked up by Hayley Smith from Lucknam Park Hotel.

Demi Chef De Partie, Alex who only moved four months ago from Homewood Park to The Manor House, paid tribute to the runner up: "It was great fun going up against, Martin my old Sou Chef, who trained me. I'm really grateful to have worked with him because he really helped improve my skills. Winning Chef v Chef not only gives us really good prizes, but also helps build our confidence and makes our CV's stand out from the rest.

Alex was delighted to win the battle for the professional category against six other finalists, with his meal of Pheasant two ways, Parsnip cheek, Baked apple, Liver and Onion Jus followed by Roasted white chocolate parfait with toasted cashew nuts.

Martin cooked pan roasted breast of pheasant, Pomme noisette, Confit leg, Root vegetable fricassee and Seared Calabrese followed by White chocolate mousse legere, Lemon curd and Cashew nut crumb.

Hayley prepared Pan roast pheasant breast, Parsnip puree, Braised flagelot beans, Calabrese and Barigoule artichokes.

The Chef v Chef competition took place in the Shrubbery Restaurant at the City of Bath College where the Professional category was judged by a team of renowned Chefs – Executive Head Chef, Gary Jones who has led the kitchen at Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons since 1999, Celebrity Chef, Martin Blunos, Jonathan Newberry of The Valley Smokehouse and Stuart McLeod, Development Director at Zuidam UK Ltd. They were joined for judging of the Student category by the Head Chef of Woods Restaurant, Stuart Ash.

Cash, Bath Aqua Glass trophies, prestigious Estages, where people have a chance to spend time in restaurants, and Champagne were amongst the prizes on offer to the top performers but all finalists received a certificate.

For the first time Chef v Chef held a Student category. The Gold was awarded to Jessica Conway, the Silver Award to Chloe Matano, the Bronze Award to Oliver Dunn and Highly Commended to Oliver Rose.

Judge, Gary Jones said "It has been an absolute honour to represent Le Manoir in judging this competition over the 10 years it has been running. The commitment to training from the team at City of Bath College is fantastic and the standards in the South West are getting better year on year. Congratulations should go to all at Bath College and to the Partnership for running this great competition for its first decade. It is truly inspirational."

Judge, Martin Blunos said "This year, again, the standard was very high. Having only two categories, separating the students and the professionals was helpful for us as judges and also, noticeably, for the students as it was much fairer and less daunting for them than having to compete against Chefs who are already working professionally. The competition and team spirit was healthy and although every competitor was doing their own thing, they were a serious band of brothers and sisters."

Andrew Berman, 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 City of Bath College offers terrific hospitality training and this was proved when the new Student category showcased some great future prospects."

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.