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Opus Birmingham ~ Shining Star

Bradley Gent, Opus Birmingham

Bradley Gent, Opus Birmingham

Brad Gent, restaurant manager at Opus Restaurant in Birmingham’s Colmore Business District, has joined the ranks of the industry’s most talented professionals after being presented with a Master of Culinary Arts (MCA) in Restaurant Management and Service – the only individual from an establishment outside London to pick up the highly prestigious award in 2009.

Held only every four years, the Master of Culinary Arts (MCA) is widely acknowledged as the toughest test for those working in the UK hospitality industry. Representing the very best in craftsmanship, there are three awards categories РCulinary Skills, Pastry, and Restaurant Management and Service.   The standard demanded of the judges is so exceptionally high that the Academy of Culinary Arts has not awarded the title to any candidates in the Restaurant Management and Service category for eight years.

In what represents a massive achievement for Brad, Opus and for Birmingham’s thriving restaurant scene, the 29-year old picked up the award after his first attempt at a gala presentation dinner for the MCA 2009, held at Claridges in London. ¬†Other winners included individuals from some of the Capital’s most critically-acclaimed restaurants including Aubergine, Le Gavroche and The Ritz.

Irene Allan, restaurant director of Opus, said: “We are all thrilled for Brad and we are very proud to see him being presented with an MCA. From his days as a student at the University College Birmingham to his time spent working here at Opus as restaurant manager, Brad has worked so hard building up his experience and skills; this award is very well-deserved. His passion and commitment to the highest standards of service and presentation have always been a big hit with our customers, at the same time inspiring other members of the team.

“It is quite unusual for an MCA to be presented to someone who is not actually a chef, as candidates must demonstrate such high levels of specialist expertise and perfection to meet the rigorous judging criteria. When you also consider that this award was not even presented in 2004, and Opus is the only restaurant from outside London to have an MCA winner in 2009, it is clear to see the significance of Brad’s achievement.

“He is an ambassador for Opus, and his very special approach reflects the core values that the restaurant has built its reputation on over the last four years,” Irene continued.

MCA entrants in the Restaurant Management and Service category are called on to display a wide range of professional skills in a variety of practical assessments, including wine matching, blind wine tasting, and cocktail mixing exercises. At the final, held at La Gavroche earlier this year, they were assessed on their preparation and service of a four-course meal.

Brad, who has previously been named one of five front-of-house ‘Rising Stars’ by the ‘bible’ of the catering industry, ‘Caterer and Hotelkeeper Magazine’, said: “Being presented with an MCA is such a huge honour; and although it is incredibly nerve wracking to be put through your paces by some of the biggest names in the hospitality industry, the hard work is all worthwhile when you hear your name being called out as an award winner.

“Going through this process and being presented with the award has been a real career high for me; and I could not have achieved this without the support of the team at Opus and the without the opportunities presented to me by the owners of the restaurant, who respect the prestige of the MCA and have cheered me on towards picking up this award.”

Founded in 1980, the Academy of Culinary Arts is Britain’s leading professional organisation of head chefs, pastry chefs, restaurant managers and quality suppliers.

Brian J. Turner CBE, president of the Academy of Culinary Arts commented: “This prestigious award is based on perfection. The judges, experienced industry professionals and many MCA holders themselves, are looking for candidates to deliver the highest standards under the extremes of pressure that working in the catering industry demands on a day to day basis. It is for this reason that only the best and therefore only a handful of candidates ever achieve this standard. It takes real courage to enter the MCA and exceptional skill to reach the Finals. This year we have seen some immensely talented and dedicated individuals.”

Pictured above: Irene Allan and Bradley Gent with his award

Pictured above: Irene Allan and Bradley Gent with his award

Opus Restaurant is situated on Cornwall Street in Birmingham’s Colmore Business District. An independent restaurant with a modern British menu reflecting chef director David Colcombe’s market fresh approach, Opus has two private dining rooms and a chef’s table in a prime position in the kitchen. Posted by in assoc with

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