Battle of the chefs - FoodSmiths go head

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FoodSmiths go head
FoodSmiths go head
In the first of a new series where we challenge two pub chefs to a kitchen cook-off against each other, we visit the Fountain Hotel in Tenbury Wells,...

In the first of a new series where we challenge two pub chefs to a kitchen cook-off against each other, we visit the Fountain Hotel in Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, for some frantic kitchen fun.

The challenge:

Two chefs:​ Head chef Paul "Chopper" Smith v second chef Ian "Zoolander" Smith Time:​ 45 minutes to make four main courses and four starters or desserts Budget:​ £15 each - working on a cost per dish of just under £2, aiming to make a gross profit of around 70% The ingredients:​ 45 minutes' shopping time for the chefs to choose their own ingredients. The main dish must include Tilda's basmati & Wild or Arborio Risotto Rice.

Shopping​ Paul and Ian Smith leave the Fountain Hotel and head into Tenbury Wells to stock up on their challenge ingredients. They visit Bowkett's - from where the pub sources many of its supplies - to stock up on their ingredients. "We use Bowkett's for lots of our fresh meat and produce,"​ points out Paul. "We like to buy things locally. If you spend money in the area, then you are helping to support your customers and keep the local economy going, which also helps support the pub."

1hour 30 minutes to go:​ - the chefs scan the shelves, sniff the produce and ask advice from staff at Bowkett's in Tenbury Wells in their hunt for ingredients, then hot foot it back to the pub ready to get cooking

45 minutes to go and they're off:​ it's Smith v Smith as the two get chopping, simmering and stirring in the kitchen. Paul starts by preparing the shallots and garlic for his risotto while Ian begins by preparing the base for his Roman sauce and gets the eggs for his salad on the boil. Ian jokes: "What's the most important rule in comedy? Timing."​ But will he still be laughing as the minutes quickly pass?

40 minutes to go:​ there's plenty of pan action now with Ian getting his rice on the go and Paul up and running with the base for his risotto. Ian gets hulling his tomatoes, while Paul prepares the fish for his risotto.

25 minutes to go:​ Paul starts poaching the pears. Ian gets his lamb cooking and Paul raids the pub's organic herb garden for some herbs for his dishes. The pub grows more than 20 different varieties, which it uses to garnish all its dishes. Ian samples the red wine for his sauce.

15 minutes to go:​ Paul is busy preparing his chocolate mousse, while Ian focuses on finishing his salad and cooking the Roman sauce for his lamb.

10 minutes to go:​ Paul is busy slicing the courgettes for his risotto, while Ian aims to make his salad dressing to impress. Ian starts stuffing his tomatoes with rice and Paul lines a dish with courgettes, which will wrap around the risotto.

5 minutes to go:​ Ian plates up his niçoise salad and arranges the lamb in Roman sauce and the rice-stuffed tomatoes. Paul arranges his pears, garnishing them with a sprig of mint, and decorating the plate with chocolate.

Time's up:​ After a hot and hectic 45 minutes, the pair present their dishes to the judges.

The ingredients:

Paul's shopping list​ 2 Kippers Smoked haddock 2 courgettes Twinnings gunpowdertea Parmesan cheese 6 large eggs Wild mushrooms Double cream Cooking chocolate Garlic Tilda's Arborio Risotto Rice Shallots 4 Pears

Ian's shopping list:​ Salmon fillet Lamb cutlets Jar of Crespo olives Cos lettuce Cherry tomatoes Potatoes Tin anchovies Cucumber Dutch vine-ripened tomatoes 6 eggs Potatoes Tilda's Basmati & Wild Rice

On the menu

On Paul's menu: Smoked haddock and kipper risotto with courgettes Poached pears with chocolate mousse Paul says:"As we had to use rice, I thought it had to be a risotto. I enjoy using fresh fish like seabass and salmon but decided on the haddock as I thought it would be different and would be quick and easy to prepare."

On Ian's menu:​ Salmon niçoise salad with raspberry and garlic oil dressing Roman-style pan-fried lamb with rice and fruit jewelled tomatoes on a bed of crushed potato. Ian says:"I like using fresh fish so I went for the salmon as I couldn't get any tuna to use in my starter. I thought the rice would work well as a side dish, and would be interesting to use in the stuffed tomatoes."

The results​ This month's panel of judges included Tom Sheppard, key account manager for Woodward foodservice, David Leach, manager of the Fountain and Jo Bruce, editor of PubChef magazine. The judges gave the chefs marks for their timing, creative use of ingredients, appearance and taste. It was a close run thing, but Paul was crowned the overall winner with his smoked haddock and kipper risotto and poached pears and chocolate mousse. All loved the presentation of Paul's risotto, which was wrapped in courgettes and topped with a fruit coulis. The judges were also impressed with Ian's Roman-style pan-fried lamb with rice and fruit-jewelled tomatoes.

Rice to the occasion with Tilda​ Tilda offers pub chefs a range of easy-cook and speciality rices, which have a variety of menu uses. The Tilda range of easy-cook rice has been selected to meet the needs of caterers who demand quality, variety and consistency with ease of use. It includes Basmati, American Long Grain, Basmati & Wild and American Brown Wholegrain. Thus it allows caterers to extend their menu by providing a wide range of accompaniments and quick-and-easy rice dishes from starters through to desserts. All of Tilda's Easy Cook rices are pre-steamed to seal in the goodness and ensure that the fluffy texture comes through with each meal.

Tilda's re-sealable "rip and zip" pack guarantees caterers a consistently high-quality product throughout the storage period with no spillage or wastage. The chefs in this month's competition used Basmati & Wild Rice and Italian Arborio Risotto Rice.

1.​ Basmati & Wild is a blend of Tilda's finest, fragrant Indian basmati grains combined with exotic Californian wild rice. The company recommends it with vegetarian and fish dishes. 2.​ Italian Arborio Risotto Rice is among Tilda's range of speciality rices and, like all Tilda rices, it has a reputation for consistent quality, value and authenticity.

Originating in the Po Valley, in Northern Italy, Arborio is the finest of the Superfino risotto rices with a short, plump grain that cooks up to a delicious creaminess, while keeping the sought-after al-dente texture at its centre. Unlike other rice, Tilda Arborio benefits from frequent stirrings, as the stock is added a bit at a time, encouraging the natural creaminess of the rice. For a perfect risotto, add butter, meat, fish or vegetables and freshly grated Parmesan to serve.

Paul Smith, head chef at the Fountain Hotel, Tenbury Wells, Worcestershire, says: "We use Tilda all the time as a dish for curries. We always use Tilda as it is a quality product and you can rely on its consistency. It is the best."​ For more information on Tilda's products call 01708 717777​ or see

Rice hints and tips1.​ When cooking any Tilda Easy Cook Rice, use twice the volume of water to rice - eg, 1 litre of Tilda rice measured in a measuring jug needs 2 litres of water. 2.​ Rinse Tilda rice, especially basmati, in several changes of water before cooking, to ensure light, fluffy rice every time. 3. For a sweet coconut rice, just add some coconut cream, sugar, and milk to Tilda Basmati Rice that's been cooked to your taste. Serve with slices of fresh mango. 4.​ For an authentic Chinese touch, why not add some star anise, slices of fresh root ginger and some Sichuan peppercorns to Tilda Thai Rice. 5. To complement any gr

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