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Rising star Aaron leads junior England team to silver at ScotHot

Aaron far (right) with the junior England team and mentors Mike Edwards and Mike Bullard

Aaron Darnley, Chef de Partie at The Queens in Belbroughton, has won two silver medals leading the junior England team from University College Birmingham at The WACS Junior Culinary Grand Prix.

The culinary challenge, part of the 29th Scottish Culinary Championships, took place between 4 – 6th March at the annual ScotHot exhibition held at the SECC in Glasgow. ScotHot is the definitive event for the Scottish hospitality, tourism and catering industry.

Competing on behalf of the British Culinary Federation, Aaron’s team included Brandon Smith, Sean Murphy, Connor Floyd and Ed Marsh, all currently students at UCB. The young team of five battled against Wales, Ireland, Scotland and America, mentored by UCB chef lecturer Mike Edwards and head chef at West Bromwich Albion, Mike Bullard.

For the main part of the competition, all five junior teams were required to produce a three course menu for a live restaurant of diners. Aaron’s team created a starter of slow baked salmon, salmon fish cake, avocado cream and spiced oil followed by a main of roast duck breast, confit of leg, chicory salsify, savoury potatoes and rhubarb jus. They finished with a dessert of iced chocolate parfait with marshmallow, kirsch cream macaroons and cherry compote.

After the judging was completed, the young England chefs were awarded two silver medals for their efforts and overall second place in the competition; just beaten to the gold by the Scottish team on points.

Fast becoming a rising star in the culinary world, 24 year old team captain Aaron from Solihull, has already participated at several other major world chefs’ competitions, winning bronze at the Culinary Olympics in 2012 and two silver medals in the 2010 Villeroy & Boch Culinary World Cup. In 2010 Aaron was awarded the Johnnie Borra Memorial Award by the British Culinary Federation, presented to the most promising young chef under the age of 25.

Aaron who started his career at the Birmingham College of Food has since worked under the tutorage of Head Chef at The Queens, Andy Waters.

Commenting on Aaron’s achievements Andy said: ‘It is a fantastic for Aaron and his team to be recognised at The Scottish Culinary Championships, one of the longest running and well respected culinary competitions. It makes us very proud that he represents The Queens in such a professional way and at such an early stage in his career. Aaron is a credit to the Midlands and to the industry”.

For more information about The Queens visit

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