Cheal’s of Henley sous chef Matt Nicholls and Restaurant Story junior sous chef took second and third place respectively.
The final took place behind closed doors at CORD by Le Cordon Bleu last month but was premiered tonight (21 October) on the big screen at the Everyman Cinema in Broadgate.
At the cook-off, the finalists presented a three-course menu which centered around British themed dishes with a twist. It included a modern vegetarian or vegan version of a classic Scotch broth.
Using inspiration from Knorr’s Future 50 Beans and Pulses and Cereals and Grains categories, judges were on the hunt for an innovative approach and for chefs to elevate the humble broth to a fine dining experience.
The main course gave chefs the chance to present their own take on a classic British fish and chips using a prime fillet of haddock or cod from Seafood from Norway. Finalists had to create their own interpretation of the classic crumble using seasonal fruits for dessert.
Cornish impressed with his menu of Scotch broth served with a spelt bread and celeriac purée; fish and chips with pickled cockles, mushy peas and a curried rouille; and a pear and macadamia crumble with a set ginger custard.
“I loved designing this brief which allowed the chefs to really show us their creativity and elevate some simple British classics to a fine dining stage,” says chair of judges Hrishikesh Desai, executive chef/food and beverage manager at Gilpin Hotel and Lake House in Cumbria.
“Whilst many admitted to finding the brief challenging, all the finalists rose to the occasion and the variety of dishes we saw across the competition was really inspiring. This made it an extremely close final where we had to look at every little detail including cleanliness and organisation.
“However, Daniel cooked three consistently beautiful dishes which were well-balanced and the flavours were fresh, light and very tasty. All the finalists were supported by their mentors who had helped to prepare them well for such a big competition. There’s no doubt our industry is in great hands with a bright future.”
Organiser of Young National Chef of the Year and food innovation & sustainability director for Sodexo UK and Ireland David Mulcahy said that the 10 finalists had come from a range of sectors which led to a “thrilling final with a truly inspiring criteria”.
“Ahead of the cook-off, the finalists had lots to learn about Future 50 Foods as they put sustainability first and were encouraged to consider other ingredients,” Mulcahy continues. “It is so important for these young chefs to learn about this initiative and the importance of cooking sustainably as they grow and work their way through the industry."
"Not only did the finalists all serve up creative, innovative and modern dishes but they executed them really well which is so important. It was both reassuring and inspiring for the judges to see this level of cooking coming from chefs at the earlier stages of their career.”