PubChef awards 2005 - Favourites cook-off

By Max Gosney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Sausage Full breakfast

Favourites cook-off
Favourites cook-off
There are some classic pub dishes, which still earn a rightful place on pub menus. In the final cook-off in the PubChef Awards we challenged our five...

There are some classic pub dishes, which still earn a rightful place on pub menus. In the final cook-off in the PubChef Awards we challenged our five finalists to create pub favourites, but with a fresh approach. Max Gosney reports.

As millions of Americans packed polling booths to vote in the US presidential elections, their British cousins across the pond turned their attention to an equally close-fought contest - the final of the favourites category in the PubChef cook-off finals. Five candidates hailing from Devon to Lancashire hit the campaign trail to attend the decisive vote in Milton Keynes. The chefs attempted to win over the electorate with dishes based on classic pub dishes - pie and chips, liver and bacon, Welsh rarebit, an English breakfast and sausage and mash.

The finalists

Anthony WilliamsPUB:​ The Williams Arms, Braunton, Devon THE DISH:​ Steak and chip pie EUREKA MOMENT:"I was cooking some sausages while making red wine sauce and I accidentally dropped a banger into the mix. It tasted superb and gave me the idea to combine the two ingredients in a pie - a dish that sells well at the pub."SUPPLIER:"The chipolata sausages are from LJ Reed & Son, a butcher in Braunton, Devon. I am good friends with the owner and went to school with his son."BACKGROUND:​ Anthony's accolades include British Meat Pub Chef of the Year 2003 and he has been nominated in the pub chef category of the Craft Guild of Chefs Awards. DO PUB FAVOURITES HAVE A FUTURE?:"I think a pub menu needs to have innovative dishes but should also keep a few traditional favourites. I think something like pie and chips will always sell well in a pub."FAVOURITE PUB DISH:"It's got to be pie and chips."

Killian CallenderPUB:​ The Merrie Harriers, Cowbeech, Herstmonceux, East Sussex THE DISH:​ Black 'n' Tan EUREKA MOMENT:"The recipe is a classic combination of flavours. I think the smoky flavours of the haddock partner the Welsh rarebit brilliantly."SUPPLIER:​ Admiral's Plaice, Hailsham, East Sussex (Haddock). BACKGROUND:​ Killian studied physics at university in Dublin and took-up a part-time position in a restaurant to fund his studies. However, he enjoyed the catering work so much that he decided to become a full-time chef. Killian left Ireland for the UK in 2001 for a pub chef position and became head chef at the Merrie Harriers in March 2004. DO PUB FAVOURITES HAVE A FUTURE:"I think certain dishes will always remain popular."FAVOURITE PUB DISH:"Sausage and mash. I like it done simply with no frills."

Steven PrescottPUB:​ The Eagle & Child, Parbold, Ormskirk, Lancashire THE DISH:​ Spring onion and ginger sausage and mash with creamed leeks EUREKA MOMENT:"We used to get the sausages supplied but one day I decided to make my own. It was a natural step for me to bring in the Chinese-style flavours of the ginger and spring onion."SUPPLIER:​ Mr Kelly's Butchers, Skelmsly, Lancashire (sausage meat. BACKGROUND:​ Steven first worked at the Eagle & Child more than a decade ago. He is currently head chef and is determined to make the most out of Lancashire's fine ingredients. DO PUB FAVOURITES HAVE A FUTURE:"Yes, without a doubt. I remember a head chef at the Eagle & Child who tried to take steak and ale pie off the menu. It caused uproar among the customers. We currently sell 30kg of steak and ale pie a week."FAVOURITE PUB DISH:"Liver with red onion gravy, black pudding and mashed potatoes."

John WilliamsPUB:​ The Bull Country Bistro, Shocklach, Malpas, Cheshire. THE DISH:​ Chef's Breakfast EUREKA MOMENT:"I had a customer ask for sausage meat without the skin. The idea progressed from there really. I love my breakfasts and wanted to base a dish around one."​ His sauce for the breakfast was made out of beetroot and baked beans. SUPPLIER:​ Phill Salt Butchers, Chester BACKGROUND:"I did my training in Bron Eifion Hotel, at Criccieth in North Wales. I left the hotel to work as a chef at CenterParcs before setting up my own catering firm, which supplied weddings and birthday events. I joined the Bull as head chef in 2001."DO PUB FAVOURITES HAVE A FUTURE:"I'm sure they have. Customers will always want classic English dishes and adopted favourites like curries."FAVOURITE PUB DISH:"Fillet steak served on fried bread."

Lewis SingletaryPUB:​ The Manor House Inn, Croyde, Braunton, Devon THE DISH:​ Pan-fried liver set on a roast garlic mash. EUREKA MOMENT:"Many people have bad memories of liver and bacon from school dinners. I wanted to change people's perceptions by re-inventing the dish using quality ingredients."SUPPLIER:​ Ivan Clarke Butchers, Ilfracombe, Devon. BACKGROUND: Born in Watford 23-year-old Lewis left school for Devon looking for a summer job. He worked in part-time catering jobs before arriving at the Manor House Inn in 2001 as a kitchen porter. A meteoric rise has seen Lewis progress to his current position as head chef. DO PUB FAVOURITES HAVE A FUTURE:"Definitely, though I think it's important to give old favourites a contemporary twist."FAVOURITE PUB DISH:"Liver and bacon."

The judges.

The panel comprised former chief executive of the Restaurant Association and former Egon Ronay Guide inspector IAN MCKERRACHER​, foodservice trade sector manager at the Meat & Livestock Commission TONY GOODGER​, food writer for Maxim, the Yorkshire Post and PubChef RICHARD FOX​, foodservice marketing manager for McCain Foods NICOLA GITTUS​ and PubChef Reporter MAX GOSNEY​.

The judges' verdicts

ANTHONY WILLIAMS​ - Was praised for offering a dish to satisfy the appetite of the average pub-goer. The judges also commended the delicious pastry and perfect presentation of his steak and chip pie dish. They said he had moved the dish on without losing its integrity. STEVEN PRESCOTT -​ The panel enjoyed the full home-made flavour of his sausages. The judges also commended Steven on the rustic appeal of his dish. KILLIAN CALLENDER -​ Secured praise for his excellently-cooked haddock and combining the fish with Welsh rarebit and tomato flavours. The judges felt the dish would make a perfect Sunday brunch dish. JOHN WILLIAMS -​ Complimented on his technical ability and energy as a chef. Also received praise for cooking a perfect poached egg and satisfying sausage meat. A clever idea. LEWIS SINGLETARY -​ His bacon was a hit with judges who loved its interesting depth of flavours. They described his dish as a really pleasing combination of flavours.

Said and done

"Fancy a trip to Spain?" ANTHONY WILLIAMS​ attempts to curry favour with a member of the judging panel "People remember it as something that used to get stuck in your teeth at primary school." LEWIS SINGLETARY​ on childhood memories of liver and bacon "He has a laugh and a joke when he can afford to and gives you a dressing do when things don't go so well." DARRAN WRIGHT​, sous chef at the Manor House Inn on Lewis.

"I hear I have been called the Simon Cowell of the judges."IAN MCKERRACHER​ reflects on his no-nonsense judging style "The way he stood there, cutting the pastry off the pie dishes, with his big belly, made me want to go and hug the man! He is like a John Bull figure."IAN MCKERRACHER​ describes Anthony Williams' cooking style. "The flavours of the beetroot and baked beans really works."IAN MCKERRACHER​ on John Williams' unusual sauce combination.

Seven of the best.

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