Young Chefs Competition 2013

Alex Hucker, of the Four Seasons, Hampshire, emerged the overall winner from eight finalists for this year’s Chaîne des Rôtisseurs UK Young Chef of the Year. Alex will now represent GB at the International Finals in Istanbul in autumn 2013.

This year’s Grand Finals were sponsored by super-premium kitchen brands, Gaggenau and Winterhalter, and held at MOD’s Worthy Down Catering Services Wing, with the winners announced at the Chaîne’s glittering ceremony at The Dorchester on the evening of 22 March.

Alex took coveted first place, with Greig Young, of The Vineyard, Stockcross coming a close second. Third place went to Michael Cruikshank, of Ashdown Park, with the judges describing all three as demonstrating ‘flair, creativity and strong skills’ throughout the final.

The eight finalists, all under the age of 27, and ranging from establishments such as Turnberry Resort, Swinton Park, Lancaster London, the Ritz and Claridges, were tasked with the ultimate challenge — to create a three course meal for four people from a mystery box of ingredients, all within three hours.

Each meal was judged upon its presentation, originality and taste with additional marks around hygiene and health and safety factors. Alex’s winning menu was an ambitious starter of pan-fried seared mackerel fillet, golden beetroot, saffron, couscous and baby leeks, followed by roast breast of guinea fowl, butternut squash, potato fondant and baby onions. The delicious dessert was plum and hazelnut crème brulee tart.

The judges were chaired by Daniel Galmiche of The Vineyard at Stockcross, and included Mike Monahan of Carnival UK alongside Cyrille Pannier of the Four Seasons.

Daniel Galmiche commented: ‘We were pleased to see there was a strong level of skill and passion across this year’s contestants, which was evident in the dishes they presented. ‘The menus we were seeing embraced thought and creativity, and contestants had worked hard on their presentation techniques. There was also a real appreciation of healthy eating in this year’s presentation menus, which was heartening to see and evidences the training and new thinking that our chefs are being encouraged to embrace.

‘As judges, we are pleased to support the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Young Professional Awards as initiatives such as these are vital to driving new skills and sharing of best practice within the industry.’

Alex will be awarded a short-term placement with Anton Mosimann and, of course, a trip to Turkey to compete in the International Finals and then a week’s residency at the Two Starred Michelin hotel, Schloss Lerbach in Germany. All three finalists received a set of Wutshof Knives together with a set of Anolon Pans by Raymond Blanc.

For more information about the Young Chefs Competition, please contact Vic Laws, Conseiller Culinaire: