THE countdown to the big Milton Keynes cook-off is almost over.
On Wednesday morning a host of the city’s top chefs will take part in a competition to determine MK’s Chef of the Year.
The contest is part of the inaugral Milton Keynes Food & Leisure Awards, backed by Milton Keynes Citizen.
In all the awards will consist of 14 categories, honouring the best in food, drink, hospitality and much more throughout the city.
Full details of the awards can be seen on the MKFLA website at www.mkfla.co.uk
The Chef of the Year contest will take place at Milton Keynes College at 9am on Wednesday. All the finalists will cook a starter and a main course with the assistance of two students from the college, who will act as commi chefs for the morning.
Their efforts will then be judged by an expert panel, including Milton Keynes Dons manager Karl Robinson, the Citizen’s deputy editor Craig Lewis, Mark Lewis from Milton Keynes College, The Sun’s Lee Price and Paris House head chef Phil Fanning.
The contenders are:
CHEF OF THE YEAR:
Terry is the highly successful head chef at elegant Chicheley Hall where he cooks modern, seasonal British food using produce both from Chicheley’s gardens and from local suppliers.
He started his professional life working in hotels, before moving to a large supermarket where he was introduced to managing kitchens and staff. He has worked at Chicheley for Harbour & Jones since October 2010 and has proved to be a consummate professional.
Adam has been working at The Woburn Brasserie for three years as a sous chef and recently been promoted to head chef.
He had the pleasure of training with the late Peter Chandler in Woburn, and has been in the business for six years.
Adam is always looking for the freshest produce as locally as possible and has a keen interest in organic ingredients to compliment the organic wines within the restaurant.
Kingsfisher Country Club
Paul has been Head Chef at Kingfisher Country Club since 2007. He caters for a diverse customer base including hotel guests, golfers, corporate hospitality events and the British public.
His illustrious and long career started in hotels at London’s west end where he qualified from Westminster College in 1970. Paul has headed award winning teams at such venues as the Waldorf, the Park Lane Hotel and the House of Commons.
The Swan Salford
Mark, who got his whites at Cranfield University, has previously worked at St Michael’s Manor, Fischer’s Baslow Hall in Derbyshire and Luton Hoo.
He even worked as a private chef in a Swiss ski resort before returning to his local at The Swan in Salford.
Purple Goose, Woburn Sands
Scott, 24, is the Head Chef and co-owner of The Purple Goose.
He uses new techniques including nitrogen foamers for textures, atomisers to create aromas around dishes and a spray paint gun for chocolate and gold leaf on desserts.
David Green has been Sous chef at the Mercure Parkside for the past year, assisting head chef Jeffrey Payne to create modern British dishes, which have resulted in the restaurant recently achieving one AA rosette.
Originally from Dunstable, David has spent the majority of his career working various three and four star hotels of the south east at one and two rosette level. He regards his time at Sopwell House Hotel in St Albans as some of his most illuminating working under such influences as former Savoy Head chef Michael Quinn MBE and current Buckingham Palace head chef Mark Flanagan.
Shanti has been the Head Chef at Raymond Blanc’s Brasserie Blanc restaurant for the past four years. During this time he has worked closely with Raymond and gained valuable experience from him.
He trained as chef in India, earning his culinary degree he embarked on his cooking career on the chef’s management training programme at the Taj hotels, voted the finest luxury hotel chain in south-east Asia.
Aaron started his cooking career at Cranfield Conference Centre aged 17 as a Commis chef. Keen to learn more skills he went travelling around the world in 2008 finishing in Australia where he worked in a bistro restaurant on an island resort.
On his return he joined the kitchen at Mercedes Benz in their onsite restaurant and then Joined The Carrington Arms as Sous Chef in 2009. He subsequently took over as Head Chef in September 2010.
Aaron has recently become interested in foraged and wild products which are finding their way onto his new menus.
BEST ASIAN/INDIAN FINALISTS:
Saj, 38, has been cooking since he was 14 and was named as the second best Indian chef in the country at the Britain’s Best Indian Chef contest 2011.
He has been head chef at Calcutta Brasserie for three years, having previously opened the Moghul Palace and co-owned the Rajshahi in Woburn.
Kardamom Lounge, Stony Stratford
Akbar is the owner of the Kardamom Lounge. The 43-year-old has previously worked in his family business in Alton and managed a restaurant in Gran Canaria.
The Kardamom Lounge has been open since 2006 and won a string of top awards, including the 2007 British Curry Award.