The winner of the senior heat of the Compass Group Chef of the Year has been announced as Denis Mwakalua of Fujitsu Services at the Restaurant Show in London today.
Mwakalua cooked a four-course meal with his Commis Chef Tom Fisher out of a mystery bag of ingredients. On the menu was a truffle Florentine as an amuse bouche; monkfish masala with mussels and coconut as the starter; cannon and middle neck of lamb with minted peas and lamb jus for main; and Santader chocolate pralinee with English custard ice cream and salted caramel banana for dessert.
The win is the culmination of four attempts by Mwakalua to grab first place and the £1k cheque, after achieving silver in 2005.
“I feel like my hard work paid off,” he beamed. “This is one of the toughest competitions and to have come down to just eight in the country, and then to come first, I cannot explain. I’m lost for words.”
The team of chef judges said the competition this year was extremely high with only a few marks left in the final decision for first place, which was also contested by Mark Findon of British Airways, and John Killington of City Group who took the second and third places respectively.
Head judge and Executive Chef of the Restaurant Association hotels, Omero Gallucci, said: “We found that all the dishes were very innovative, they used all the products they were asked to, to their best, but Denis hit it on the button.”
The senior heat followed the junior competition that was held earlier this morning, where James Baker of British Airways was crowned the winner.