PubChef Awards 2005 - Food from Britain

By Max Gosney

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Food from Britain
Food from Britain
Food from Britain is the second category cook-off in the PubChef awards. Our five finalists focus on using quality British regional produce. Max...

Food from Britain is the second category cook-off in the PubChef awards. Our five finalists focus on using quality British regional produce. Max Gosney reports.

Great chefs are dependent on sourcing the best ingredients. Building a good relationship with local farmers, fishermen, grocers and gamekeepers provides the cook with the finest ingredients to create their masterpiece. It is a partnership, which can produce outstanding culinary results. PubChef's Food From Britain cookoff challenged five top chefs to create a dish that best demonstrated the rewards of using quality British ingredients which, ideally, were sourced from the region their pub is in.

The finalists

Ryan Paterson

THE PUB:​ The Cock & Bull, Blairton, Balmedie, Scotland.THE DISH:​ Roast loin of wild red deer, wild mushroom and barley risotto, deepfried Strathdon Blue and elderberry juices.WHAT'S LOCAL:​ Deer: McWilliams Butchers, Aberdeen; Strathdon Blue Cheese: Mitchell's Dairy, Inverurie; wild mushrooms: Caledonian Wild Foods, Glasgow; Elderberry wine: Cairn'O'Mohr, Perthshire.MY SUPPLIERS AND ME:"Aberdeen is rich in great local producers. The deer that I am using in the dish is a wild breed native to Scotland. All those fresh flavours from regional foods provide a boost to the final dish."WHY I'LL WIN:"I work best under pressure and I think I can be very creative."BACKGROUND:​ Ryan has been in catering since the age of 14 when he worked part time in pub kitchens. After finishing university four years ago he took a position at the Cock & Bull and has worked his way up to the role of head chef.

Ian Martin

THE PUB:​ The Freemasons Arms, Wiswell, Lancashire. THE DISH:​ Bowland loin pork, Bury black pudding and smoked bacon mash, apple and mustard sauce, cauliflower fritter. WHAT'S LOCAL:​ Pork: Tony Holland, Bowlands Pork, Bentham, Lancashire; potatoes: E Cooke & Son, Rainford, Lancashire; black pudding: H Greaves, Upholland, Lancashire. MY SUPPLIERS AND ME:"My loin of pork is from Tony Holland my local butcher who has been raising pigs for years. I think if you are buying your produce from local suppliers it adds a wonderful element of freshness to your cooking."WHY I'LL WIN:"It's a popular dish at the pub and I don't see why the judges won't feel the same."BACKGROUND:​ Ian left his job as a stockbroker to work in the catering trade more than 20 years ago. He worked in several pubs and restaurants before becoming chef and proprietor at the RedCat in Crank, Merseyside, in 1998. He has just left it for a new venture, the Freemasons Arms in Wiswell, Lancashire.

Lee Groves

THE PUB:​ The Sherborne Arms, Market Square, Gloucester.THE DISH:​ Potroast loin of saddleback pork on Oxford Blue mash with stir-fried pak choi and honey, red wine and ginger glaze. WHAT'S LOCAL: Pork loin: Bakers Butchers, Witney, reared at Sturt farm, Burford, Oxfordshire; pak choi: my garden or AMC Fruit & Vegetable Purveyors, Brize Norton. MY SUPPLIERS AND ME:"Animal products are definitely superior if the creature is slowly reared. It may sound strange but a happy cow makes a nicer bit of beef than one that has spent its life in the confines of a huge herd. My pork is reared from pigs at Sturt Farm in Burford, Oxfordshire, and it boosts my confidence to know that the animals are well looked after."WHY I'LL WIN:"Once the cook-off begins I know that I'll love it. It's the buzz of cooking under pressure that makes the job enjoyable for me."BACKGROUND:​ Lee trained under top chef Franco Taruschio at the Walnut Tree in Abergavenny, Wales. He has since progressed to become head chef at the Sherborne Arms.

Neil Clark

PUB:​ The Linnet, Great Hinton, Wiltshire.THE DISH:​ Wiltshire pork tenderloin filled with spinach and prunes wrapped in Sandridge Farm bacon on a wild mushroom sauce. WHAT'S LOCAL:​ Pork tenderloins: Downlands Produce, Lacock, Wiltshire; Sandridge Farm bacon, Sandridge Farm, Meiksham, Wiltshire; wild mushrooms: Lovejoys, Meiksham, Wiltshire. MY SUPPLIERS & ME:"We use very local suppliers and everything I'm cooking with today is located within a 10-minute walk of the pub. It's good for us to support local business. The pork I am using is from Downlands produce and it tastes amazing."WHY I'LL WIN:"It's a non-specific category so I'll be interested to see what dishes the other chefs have entered. I'm confident that I have some great ingredients so that should give me a great chance."BACKGROUND:​ Neil studied catering at Bath College for two years before he joined the Linnet. He has worked his way up to his current position as head chef at the pub.

Kim Champion

PUB:​ The Portland Arms, St Albans, Hertfordshire. ,THE DISH:​ Noisettes of lamb with goats' cheese stuffing, served on rosti potatoes and minted pea purée with redcurrant sauce.WHAT'S LOCAL:​ Lamb: Drew Woollait, Hedges Farm, St Albans; vegetables: Ray Mountier, Hedges Farm, St Albans; goats' cheese, Childwickbury Goats, St Albans. ME AND MY SUPPLIERS:"I am passionate about supporting local suppliers - to improve quality, and to offer reassurance and traceability to our customers. We source our meats from Drew Woollait at Hedges Farm in St Albans. It's great to know there are no hormones or additives in the meat."WHY I'LL WIN:"I've prepared as much as possible and have tried cooking the dish a couple of times at the pub. I'm a good all-rounder and have great attention to detail."BACKGROUND:​ Kim spent her childhood in Auckland, New Zealand, before moving to the UK and has spent almost 20 years in the pub and restaurant trade. She is chef and landlady at the Portland Arms in St Albans, Hertfordshire.

The judges

Assessing the chefs on their recipe, use of ingredients, execution of the dish and its taste and presentation were DIANA HENRY​, Gastro Pub Cookbook author and Telegraph food writer; JANE WAKELING​, regional food drink manager from Food From Britain; RICHARD FOX​, food writer for Maxim, Yorkshire Post and PubChef; TONY GOODGER​, foodservice trade sector manager at the Meat & Livestock Commission and MAX GOSNEY​, PubChef reporter.

The verdicts

RYAN PATERSON​ - was praised by the judges as a confident chef with excellent working practices. The dish was said to reflect the best of local ingredients and the meat was said to be very tender and combined well with the textures of the excellent risotto.

NEIL CLARK​ - his dish was described by the judges as exactly the sort of food that should be in pubs - British, local and not too fussy. The pork was described as absolutely outstanding.

IAN MARTIN​ - won praise from the judges for his excellent presentation of the dish and his delicious fritter. He was also complimented on the integrity of his sourcing.

LEE GROVES​ - his pork dish was praised for the fresh, vibrant presentation of the dish, which had a wonderful balance of flavours. Lives were nearly lost fighting for the mash.

KIM CHAMPION​ - Kim's lamb was praised for being wonderfully tender and the judges felt her pea pureé complemented the dish superbly.

Said and done

"For the first time in the kitchen I'm actually quite chilly." RYAN PATERSON​ acknowledges the first-rate cooling system operating at the Meat & Livestock Commission's Food development kitchen.

"It's a great experience and is definitely a learning experience. I would recommend it to other chefs and am glad I have got it as another notch on my belt." KIM CHAMPION​ gives a positive post cook-off appraisal.

"It was almost as busy as service, and I was pleased to see that none of the dishes got sent back." IAN MARTIN​ descr

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