This year marked our 5th annual ISS Education Chef of the Year competition. On 26th May, sixteen talented school and college cooks from across ISS Education gathered at the new Chefmanship Centre inside the Unilever HQ, Leatherhead to compete for the title.
Contestants had to prepare a two-course menu. These had to include chicken or turkey as part of their main dish. Both dishes had to be cooked and plated within an hour and a half, ready for the judges to consider.
The judges included Mark Davies, Managing Director for ISS Education, Chris Towler, Global Food Services Director and Steve Kemp, Divisional Director for ISS Education, and last years’ winner Terri Neale, Area Manager for Devon. They had a tough time picking 6 finalists from such great entries, and ultimately bent the rules to allow for 7 hopefuls to go through to the final round!
The final involved a Mystery Box of ingredients. Finalists had 15 minutes after the food was revealed to plan one dish to cook for the final. The main proteins were duck, lamb or cod, along with a selection of fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs.
Following a tense hour of cooking, some spectacular dishes were sent for judging. After difficult deliberations by the judges, they finally chose Elaine Dupas, Area Manager for West Berkshire in third place and Sulochana Raval, Kitchen Manager for Chadwell Primary School, Redbridge in second place.
Chris Towler was so impressed with the quality of the entries; he decided that the winner would be sent on an all expenses paid trip to Barcelona to cook with ISS Spain, along with entry into the ISS UK Chef of the Year competition for first and second place! Sinead Isitt was chosen as the overall winner. Sinead is an ISS school cook and Food Ambassador for our Richmond contract. She won the award for her wonderful Asian pan-fried duck breast served with pomegranate, spring onion and lemon rice and a stir-fried vegetable medley.
Everyone did brilliantly in the competition, and we will look forward to hearing about Sinead’s trip to Spain soon!