Supported by GBPA Best Food Pub of the Year sponsor Booker/Makro, chefs in the Pub Chef of the Year competition took it in turns to cook a main course from a box of mystery ingredients at Booker’s test kitchen near Oxford.
Booker Pub Chef of the Year competitors consisted of chefs from the six GBPA Food Pub of the Year finalists.
Sites represented were:
- The Kentish Hare, Bidborough, Kent (Bobby Brown)
- The Roebuck Inn, Forest Row, East Sussex (Dominic McCartan)
- The Turks Head, Hasketon, Suffolk (Chandramauli Dwivedi)
- The Durham Ox, Crayke. North Yorkshire (Oliver Farrar)
- The George Restaurant and Bar, Molash, Kent (Charlotte Marshall)
Rob Taylor, chef-patron of the Compasses Inn, Crundale, Kent, was unable to compete at the cook off.
Each of the five dishes were meticulously scrutinised by a panel of three expert foodies and chefs from Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs 2017 list. The judges were Stosie Madi, the Parkers Arms, Lancashire, John Calton, the Staith House, North Shields, and Morning Advertiser food and drink editor Nicholas Robinson.
The winner of the Booker Pub Chef of the Year Award, which does not contribute to the judging process of the main GBPA Food Pub of the Year winner, will be announced at the ceremony in London on 7 September.
Of the competition and the competitors, Madi said: “Judging the cook off was extremely insightful and showed a rigorous judging process for the [GBPA] awards.
“I think it is an overwhelming and daunting task for chefs to come out of their kitchen comfort zones and perform off the cuff, so for that alone credit must be given.”
See the chefs and their dishes by reading the rest of this story.
Bobby Brown, the Kentish Hare
Lamb, spinach, fondant potato and charred shallots.
Brown said: "I love lamb and it's a great time of the year to cook with it. My dish is traditional and I have only used a few ingredients, but there are a lot of things you need to get right on a simple dish like this."
Dominic McCartan, the Roebuck Inn
(Seabass, beans, wine, tomato and lemon)
McCartan said: "Looking at the ingredients, I wanted to provide a dish that was earthy by using the beans and they really stuck out to me as a little bit different.
"It's not an overpowering dish and it's a great meal, similar to something I have cooked at the Roebuck before."
Chandramauli Dwivedi (Mauli), the Turks Head
(Seabass, charred lettuce, sour cream and courgette)
Dwivedi said: "For me, the highlight was to create a nice dish using seasonal ingredients with the seabass and using my global [cooking] influences to make it with much more style."
Oliver Farrar, the Durham Ox
(Herb-crusted lamb, carrot purée, summer vegetables and fondant potato)
Farrar said: "This is a very traditional dish and true to my style of cooking. I've made sure the dish has a seasonal influence and have added a bit of sweetness to the plate with the purée."
Charlotte Marshall, the George Pub & Restaurant
(Spicy sausage-stuffed chicken, potato croquettes and a creamy sauce with summer vegetables)
Marshall said: "It's really about cooking from my heart with good ingredients and flavours, that's what the cooking is all about in my kitchen. Everything is honest and about the flavour."