Handling, who heads up the kitchen at St Ermin’s Hotel in London, beat nine chefs in a live final at the University College Birmingham on Monday (7 April) and was named the ‘clear winner’ at the awards ceremony that followed.
The ten finalists, who had already taken part in another live cook-off and a butchery competition, were tasked with producing a winning three course menu featuring British produce and English lamb in just two hours.
Judges including Alain Roux, Ashley Palmer Watts, Brian Turner CBE and Simon Hulstone were impressed by Handlings menu of salmon, pea, dill and apple followed by English lamb with cauliflower and pickled savoy, and rice puff with chocolate and caramel.
“Out of the ten chefs, three stood out as the best cooks. Adam’s menu was a clear winner with two standout dishes,” said Palmer Watts.
Roux said that while other finalists had taken risks and challenged themselves, Handling was one of a few that had truely mastered the techniques and flavours.
“Adam mastered the cooking, seasoning and flavour of the lamb. His seasonality of ingredients and the balance of flavour made him a clear winner,” he explained.
Handling, who narrowly missed out to Steven Edwards in the Masterchef Professional finals last year, won £2,500 and the opportunity to join the squad of the English National Culinary Team at the Culinary World Cup in Luxemberg this November.
Second prize in the competition went to Byron Franklin from Clare College, Cambridge, while Nick Evans from Middlethorpe Hall in York took third place.
The British Culinary Federation Chef of the Year Awards are now in their 14th year. Previous winners include Michelin-starred chefs Simon Hulstone, Luke Tipping and Richard Turner, and Bocuse d’Or candidate Adam Bennett.
Competition organiser and BCF president Peter Griffiths said, “With the butchery element and the opportunity to join the National Team, this competition continues to attract some of the industry’s best. The standards set have been a credit to all concerned.”
British Culinary Federation Chef of the Year 2014 finalists
- Adam Handling, St Ermin’s Hotel, London
- Byron Franklin - Clare College, Cambridge
- Carlos Martinez - The Stafford Kempinski, London
- Dez Turland - Saunton Sands Hotel, Devon
- Imthiaz Kader – The Chelsea Harbour Hotel, London
- James Buckley - The Genuine Dining Co
- Keiron Stevens - Michael Wignall at The Latymer, Pennyhill Park
- Keith Hooker - Restaurant Associates, Compass Group, London
- Mathew Shropshall - University College Birmingham
- Nick Evans - Middlethorpe Hall, York