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UK Visionary Chef of the Year 2012

Rohan Nevins last year's candidate chef winner, Chef Mentor Aiden Byrne

Nine of the UK’s most talented and celebrated chefs will engage in a gastronomic competition in November that is both unique and innovative within the hospitality industry awards calendar.

Throughout 2012 nine top chefs have been staging inspirational mentoring and training days around the UK, “X Factor” style, to each find a culinary unknown worthy of mentoring to reach world class standards of culinary skill, passion and style. The search has stretched from London to Glasgow and included almost 150 chefs throughout the UK who have strived to pair up with a celebrity mentor.

The final on the 29th of November is not only a celebration of skill and achievement but is also a competition within which all of the diners present are also judges. It will be the diners on the night who will crown this year’s Visionary Chef of the Year 2012, a title won in 2011 by Chef Aiden Byrne.

The competition is inspired by in aid of Hospitality Action, the Hospitality Industry’s benevolent fund.

The winners from each of the regional heats will now accompany their mentor in the Visionary Chef of the Year Dinner on the 29th November 2012. The venue for this glamorous dinner will be the stunning new Northampton College, a venue that links with the visionary feature of the event.

Mike Coppock, Director of Hospitality at Northampton College is not only relishing working with 9 world class chefs for a day, but agrees that serving a 9 course tasting menu which includes 1350 dishes over a six hour period is not without significant challenge. ‘’Allowing our students to work alongside industry greats gives us all a real buzz. Winning the tender to host this event is a great honour that sits alongside the ambitions that we as a college set ourselves.’

The winning chef on the night will be judged not only by the diners present, but also by a world class judging panel. (Details – below). Head of Judges Peter Birnie, Former Chief Restaurant Inspector at the AA explains what his team will be looking for on the night. ‘’The winner on the night will demonstrate a natural visionary culinary philosophy that showcases clear natural vibrant flavours, flawless textures and high levels of intuitive skill. Ultimately, the winning dish will provide a WOW factor and be memorable.’

Managing Director of, Gordon Cartwright, is keen to point out the novelty of this competition. ‘Whilst this final provides an exciting climax to this year’s programme, the mentoring of unknown chefs throughout the year by celebrity chefs has been both inspirational and motivating. The sharing of skills means that standards up and down the country will benefit.’

The UK National Mentors

Aiden Byrne ~ 3 AA Rosettes ~ The Church Green, Lymm, Cheshire
Kenny Atkinson ~ 3 AA Rosettes ~ Rockliffe Hall, Darlington, County Durham
Andre Garret ~ 3 AA Rosettes ~ Galvin at Windows, London
Tom Aikens ~ 5 A Rosettes ~ Restaurant Tom Aikens, London
Adam Simmonds ~ 1 Michelin Star ~ Danesfield House, Marlow
Martin Wishart ~ 1 Michelin Star ~ Restaurant Martin Wishart, Edinburgh
Mark Poynton ~ 3 AA Rosettes ~ Alimentum Restaurant, Cambridge
Ben Spalding ~ 3 AA Rosettes ~ Roganic. London
Paul Foster ~ 3 AA Rosettes Tuddenham Mill, Suffolk

4: The UK National Competitors

Andrew Postlethwaite, Best Western Castle Green Hotel, Kendal
Braden Charlesworth Head Chef , Flemmings, London
Martin Thliveros Head Chef Blythswood Sq, Glasgow
Ross McGibbon Sous Chef Gilpin Lodge, Windermere
Danny Mathews Jnr Sous Chef Blythswood Sq, Glasgow
Andrew Postlethwaite Chef de Partie Castle Green Hotel, Kendal
Liam Davies Chef de Partie Hogarth’s, Solihull

Heats 7, 8 and 9 yet to be announced.

5: The Judges

Peter Birnie. Former Chief Restaurant Inspector at the AA. Vicky Endersen Previous Michelin-star Pastry Chef. Now works as cutting edge development chef and flavour specialist at MSK.

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