The new team category challenged pub chefs to prove how effective they were in working together to produce a three-course menu. Jo Bruce reports
Our team category saw four teams of pub chefs battling it out over the stoves, cooking-up a three course menu of their choice. The four teams competing had two and a half hours to prepare and cook a three-course menu. No pre-prepared ingredients were allowed with the exception of stocks.
Two teams competed against each other in the morning, and the other two took each other on in the afternoon, with the same judging panel presiding over each of the playoffs. Judges marked the teams on how effectively they worked together as a team, their menu choice, quality of ingredients and the presentation and taste of the dish. The judges were asked to select two teams from the four competing to be put forward to the next step of judging, which consisted of mystery site visits to the pubs by the judges.
The overall winner of the PubChef Team of the Year 2006 will be announced at the Morning Advertiser Best Pub Awards/ PubChef Awards on 2 February at Old Billingsgate in London. The judges were Rupert Clevely, managing director of Geronimo Inns; Dave McCabe of category sponsor Woodward Foodservice; Ben Bartlett, catering development manager for Union Pub Company; Andrew Pring, Morning Advertiser editor; and Mark Taylor, food writer.
Chefs: Stuart Fay, head chef, and Steven Treadwell.
Pub: Bell Inn, Horndon-on-the-Hill, Essex.
Starter: Pan-fried sea bass on chorizo and scallion tart with basil oil.
Main: Chump of lamb with honey parsnip fondant and wilted rocket.
Dessert: Trio of English puddings - Queen of puddings, sticky toffee and summer puddings.
Menu price: £8.10 (starter), £12.50 (main), £6.45 (desserts).
Chefs: Ian Martin, head chef, and Jean-Phillipe Marques, sous chef.
Pub: Victoria Stakes, Muswell Hill, London.
Starter: Soft herb-stuffed lemon sole with grilled polenta and roast tomato sauce.
Main: Roast loin of hare with parsnip purée and truffled quince.
Dessert: Clafoutis Victoria Stakes.
Menu price: £5.50 (s), £14 (m), £4.50 (d).
Chefs: Adrian Cooling and Simon Wild, chef/directors.
Pub: Druid Inn, Birchover, Derbyshire.
Starter: Potted smoked mackerel with cucumber and fennel salad and pikelets.
Main: Traditional roast pheasant with buttered cabbage, thyme and bacon roast potatoes, caramelised chestnuts, bread sauce and roast pheasant gravy.
Dessert: Baked pear crumble with cinnamon mascarpone.
Menu price: £5.50 (s), £13 (m), £5 (d).
Chefs: Jason Howlett, joint head chef, and Martin Rudley, second chef.
Pub: Ring O' Bells, Thornton, Bradford, Yorkshire.
Starter: Smoked haddock on pan-fried black pudding and wilted spinach with a tarragon hollandaise sauce.
Main: Slow-roasted belly pork, roasted potatoes, and apple, bacon and cider sauce.
Dessert: Chocolate fondant with crème fraîche.
Menu price: £3.95 (s), £5.95 (m), £3.95 (d).
The two teams reaching the final stage are the Ring O' Bells and the Victoria Stakes.