On May 26th ISS hosted its annual Chef of the Year competition for talented cooks from across the education business. The winner is Sinead Isitt who works with schools in Richmond. She is through to the ISS company-wide Chef of the Year competition, which will include entrants from Defence, Healthcare and private sector catering teams across ISS
The event was hosted by Unilever, at their state-of-the-art Chefmanship Centre in Leatherhead in Surrey. The 16 contestants from the education business were selected from different regions to compete in the first heats and whittled down to a handful of finalists after a series of cook-off heats.
In order to win a part in the final, contestants were given a few key ingredients to create a main and dessert. The menus were submitted in advance and competitors had 90 minutes to cook and serve their creations.
The judges included Mark Davies, Managing Director for ISS Education, Chris Towler, Global Food Services Director and Steve Kemp, Divisional Director for ISS Education.
Judges had a tough time picking six finalists from such high caliber entries, and ultimately bent the rules to allow for seven hopefuls to go through to the final round.
The final consisted of a Mystery Box challenge, so the ingredients were first revealed to the finalists at the start of the round. Contestants had to create a main dish from Duck, Lamb or Cod and a selection of fresh vegetables, which were kindly provided by supplier NCB. With just 15 minutes to plan their dish, the contestants then had one hour to cook and present the final plated dishes for the judges to consider.
After difficult deliberations by the judges, finally Sinead was chosen as the overall winner. Sinead is the Food Ambassador for Richmond and won the award for her wonderful Asian pan-fried duck breast served with pomegranate, spring onion & lemon rice and a stir-fried vegetable medley.
Sulochana Raval from Redbridge came second and Elaine Dupas from West Berkshire gained third place.
A special surprise was announced, courtesy of Chris Towler, which will see the winner, Sinead Isitt, being sent on an all expenses trip to Barcelona to cook with ISS Spain, as well as entry into the ISS UK Chef of the Year competition.
Photo – The seven grand finalists in the ECOTY competition – L-R; Richard Harris, Bradley Ford, Sulochana Ravel, Kate Bellwood, Sinead Isitt, Ella Pennyfather, Elaine Dupas.