Mark Tilling crowned UK Chocolate Master

By Becky Paskin

- Last updated on GMT

Mark Tilling crowned UK Chocolate Master
In a live cook-off at The Restaurant Show, Mark Tilling of Lainston House Hotel has once again won the UK heat of the World Chocolate Masters competition

Mark Tilling, Head Pastry Chef at Lainston House Hotel was crowned the winner of the Barry Callebaut World Chocolate Masters’ UK heat at the Restaurant Show in London last night.

After nine hours of melting, pouring and sculpting the perfect chocolates, Tilling was crowned the winner and received a cheque for £250 and a trophy, and will now go forward to represent the UK at the international final in Paris in October.

It is the second time the chef has won the title, having previously represented the UK at the World Chocolate Masters final in Paris in 2007.

Tilling tearfully said: “I’m over the moon, I didn’t expect to win. You never can tell because there’s a lot of marks on taste. Everyone did really well.”

Second and third places went to Oliver Drayton of Inn or Out Catering, and Sebastian Kobelt of The Kitchin in Edinburgh, respectively.

Judge and Head of Catering at Westmintser College, Gary Hunter, said: “Mark was head and shoulders above the rest; the other two were worthy in their skill and knowledge but he was clearly the winner today. You can see the amount of work he put in it.

Competitor Thomas McArthur of Whittlebury Hall Hotels in Northamptonshire was ‘gutted’ after his centre showpiece based on the theme of haute couture, which according to competition rules should be at least one metre high, collapsed, ruining his chances of claiming the prestigious title.

“I’m disappointed but I won’t kill myself over it,” McArthur said bravely. “It started breaking for a while because the dress was too big and was too heavy. Maybe I’ll do it another year.”

Alongside the showpiece, contestants were required to create a chocolate pastry and moulded pralines, entirely prepared and decorated on the day, and put the finishing touches to a dipped praline with an interior that was previously made.

The World finals will be held at Salon du Chocolate Professionel from October 14-16 at the Paris Expo.

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