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Students and professionals battle it out to win Bath College’s Chef v Chef Competition

 

Young chefs battled it out in the kitchen to prove their talent and become the winner of Bath College’s Chef v Chef Competition.

 

The long-running competition gives students and chefs working in a professional kitchen the chance to test themselves in a high-pressured environment.

 

Competitors had their food examined by judge Gary Jones, executive head chef at Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons – a two Michelin starred restaurant in Oxfordshire owned by Raymond Blanc.

 

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Culinary experts Stuart McLeod, co-founder of Zuidam UK Ltd, and Stuart Ash, head chef of Woods Restaurant in Bath, were also on hand to mark dishes on presentation, taste and temperature.

 

They were tasked with picking the winners for the junior category, made up of students studying at Bath College, and the professional category, for chefs working in a kitchen within a 50-mile radius of Bath.

 

Bath College student George Ormond won the junior category with a chicken ballotine dish, served with savoy cabbage, bacon and a potato risotto.

 

For dessert, he cooked a frangipane with sweet paste two ways, with a conference pear puree and white chocolate Anglaise.

 

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The 17-year-old said: “I didn’t think I would win. I was confident, but not overly confident. I’m really pleased with my dish, it came out a lot nicer than it did in a practice run the other day.

 

“I entered last year, so it was a bit less stressful coming into it. It’s just about organisation, because if you’re not organised you won’t get your timings right.”

 

Competitors in the professional category included chefs from The Bath Priory, The Pig near Bath, the Foxhunter Inn and The Battleaxes, a gastropub in Wraxall.

 

Bath Priory chef Kai Bingham won the second heat with a sea bass dish and a chocolate fondant pudding.

 

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He said: “It’s the first competition I’ve entered, I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. When it’s a competition you’re stepping out and it’s your interpretation of things.”

 

All competitors were invited to a celebratory ceremony and received a certificate for entering the event, sponsored by Catering Services International.

 

Mr Jones, who has run the kitchen at Le Manoir for 17 years, praised students at Bath College for taking part in the competition.

 

He said: “What’s great is that people stand out from the crowd and enter themselves. That’s brave, you’re in a class full of people and they say ‘who wants to give it a go?’

 

“Giving it a go counts for a lot, it’s putting yourself on the line and doing a bit more than is required. These are the people that will succeed, that will push the boundaries, and that’s important.

 

“Turning up today they have already won. There were some errors because they are young in their culinary journey, but they have done really well.”

 

Fellow judge Mr Ash said: “We have always worked closely with the college. I’ve been at the restaurant for 22 years and over those years we have used the college to recruit future chefs.

 

“This is such a great event for them. A lot of them have been through the college process, but it’s putting them out of their comfort zone and seeing what they can do. It was a really good level and they worked well in the kitchen.”

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