Cornish Challenge 2011 – Counting Down to Competition Night
The finalists have been selected, the menus have been written, the cutlery polished and the guests invited. It isn’t long to wait now until six teams of Cornwall’s most talented chefs come head-to-head in a battle to win over the judges in the Cornish Challenge 2011.
But I won’t be there (sniff).
On the evening of 7th February the teams, whose menus made it through the rigorous, anonymous judging process, will produce a four course menu using seasonal local ingredients. Cooked from scratch in limited time, the chefs will be under pressure to produce the highest quality food, whilst front of house staff will be marked on their service skills. With a prize worth £1000 to the winning team, not to mention the coveted Cornish Challenge title for 2011, the stakes are high and the competition is bound to be fierce.
So that’s it in a nutshell.
It’s like hearing everyone talking about a fantastic party they’re all going to, but they didn’t think to ask if you’ve been invited before talking about it. I expect to be miserably digesting a bowl of macaroni cheese while they’re enjoying gastronomic delights on Monday night.
The Cornish Challenge is a Cornwall Catering Excellence initiative, created by a group of leading Cornish businesses with links to the hospitality industry, who want to give something back to the businesses they serve. It aims to encourage and reward Cornish restaurants who provide a fantastic all-round dining experience by making the best of the region’s produce, as well as offering outstanding levels of service and attention to detail.
Cornwall College is part of the Cornwall Catering Excellence group and plays a big part in the Challenge. Students of the college get the chance to learn from some of the best local restaurants and chefs by being involved in the action on the night, inspiring them to aim high in their future careers.
This year it will be judged by Nathan Outlaw, Cornwall’s first two Michelin starred chef of the Seafood and Grill, St. Enodoc Hotel, Rock; Former Michelin – starred chef Paul Ripely of Rick Stein’s Seafood Bar, Falmouth and Paul Ainsworth, of Number 6 Restaurant, Padstow.
Altruistically I know that’s a good thing for chefs, caterers, and Cornwall…and practically – even if my fairy-godmother pitched up on Monday night with a pumpkin – alas, I don’t have a baby-sitter!
The Six Finalists are:
Pandora Inn from Restronguet, winners in 2010, who are ready to defend their crown. “Winning the Cornish Challenge was a real boost for us, it gave us so much publicity,” said Head Chef Dale McIntosh. “We won’t be giving up our title without a fight.”
Coldstreamers at Gulval near Penzance. Brothers Tom and Harry Penhaul have only been at the helm of the Coldstreamers for a little over eighteen months but this village pub is fast becoming recognised as one of the best places to eat in Penwith.
The Ferry Boat on the Helford Passage. The Ferry Boat’s philosophy is all about locally sourced food served simply and this, coupled with its fantastic location, has turned it into one of Cornwall’s favourite gastro-pubs.
Commenting on the strong showing of pubs amongst this year’s finalists, Ian Doble, of Doble Quality Foods, one of the partners in Cornwall Catering Excellence said, “This is a reflection of just how far pub dining has come in recent years and what an important part it plays, keeping local communities alive whilst serving so many of the county’s visitors.”
Also clamouring for the judge’s attention are the three remaining finalists, who all represent hotel restaurants.
The Valley Restaurant at the Rose-in-Vale Hotel near St Agnes is an exciting new candidate for the title. Menus at this country house hotel change daily and are all about fresh flavours, seasonality and provenance. Chef Colin Hankins is looking forward to serving up a mouth-watering feast for the judges on the big day.
Falmouth Beach Resort Hotel – Matthew Long is also keen to put his culinary skills to the test in the competition. Used to working under pressure when catering for large functions, Matthew submitted an imaginative menu which appealed to the judge’s taste buds.
Green Lawns Hotel, Falmouth (second place last year) the sixth finalist. With stunning sea views and a carefully thought-out menu of traditional favourites and contemporary dishes, head chef David Waplington makes the most of high quality local produce.
Pop back on Tuesday 8th February for the results.
- Ten ‘Cornish’ best for the Christmas table. (beyondthepasty.wordpress.com)