< Back to news 03 January, 2009

Chefs battle it out to become king of the kitchen

Chefs from across the country are preparing to do battle in the kitchen as they take part in a national cooking competition

The `Cook Off` competition, organised by beacon, the purchasing psecialists for the UK hospitality industry, inconjunction with Unliever Foodsolutions and M&J Seafood, is to be held at the Unilever Innovation Centre in Crawley on 28th February and promises to put the competitors` culinary skills to the ultimate test.

Competitors were asked to put forward an innovative seafood dish which would demonstrate how versatile and interesting seafood could be.

One chef hoping to impress the judges, with his mouthwatering dish of pan fried citrus trout with a dill courgette boat stuffed with ratatouille, is Karim Alilou, a chef at Best Western Red Lion Hotel in Salisbury.

"I`m really looking froward to getting in the kitvhen now, having spend such a long time preparing," said Karim. "I think it will be a close call in the end, as there are some very talented chefs taking part in the competition."

Also in line for the fight for the winning prize of a place on the chef`s table at a top London restaurant is Paul Dunn, Executive Head Chef at Best Western Strathaven Hotel, also a strong contender, with his stylish dish of poached loin of cod set on wilted spinach and egg noodles with a red pepper coulis.

Representing the Dene Hotel in Chester is head chef David Cottington, who will be preparing grilled sea bass in a fennel and prawn creamed sauce, on a bed of wild rice.

Sous Chef Lee Trevor, who works at The Greyhound Inn at Aldbury near Hertfordshire, hopes to demonstrate his culinary flair with poppy and safron infused halibut supreme, with lobster ravioli and caviar of ratatouille.

The chefs get one-and-a-half hours to cook their dishes for the panel of judges, which will be made up by development chefs from M&J Seafood and Unilever, along with Nikki Hawkins from the Sea Fish Industry Authority. The judges will be looking for various criteria including balance of taste, originality and imagination as well as good hygiene practices. A total of 50 points can be picked up in categories such as presentation, culinary skills, portion size and organisation.

Diane Webster, Head of Sales & Marketing at beacon comments: "The competition is a chnace for talented chefs to showcase their skills and demonstrate that seafood can be made really exciting, as well as a healthy option. We are looking forward to seeing what the chefs produce and crwoning the winner."