The culinary team at Sodexo, dominated by chefs from the education portfolio, won gold at Hotelympia last week.
Captained by Sodexo School & Universities food innovation director Tom Allen, the team served 200 three-course menus in the La Parade des Chefs competition on 6th March. Because of the adverse weather, the Scotland culinary team couldn’t make the event so five chefs were brought in at the last minute to support the six-strong team and serve double the number of covers.
“I got a call on Saturday asking if we could serve another 100 covers as the Scottish national team couldn’t make it. I phoned around, pulled in a couple of favours, and by 11pm that night we had another five chefs,” explained Allen. “On Sunday, I started calling suppliers to get additional ingredients.
“We met up on Monday and started the preparation. I was very clear with the team we would approach the event in the spirit of the competition and restrict preparation beforehand, so after a briefing yesterday morning we set split the team into two, in one kitchen preparing starters and desserts, and main courses in the other.
“The judges were excellent and treated the service like they would normally, tasting according to the rules and taking random dishes from the pass. Of course we’re pleased to get gold, but we’re most pleased to have offered the fine dining experience all the diners expected.”
The team included Louisa Tinkler, Andy Voice, Mark Wetherill and Steven Wylie from Sodexo Education, as well as Tom Beauchamp from Sodexo Sports & Leisure. Lea Eastman-Thomson and Will Tinkler from Sodexo Education were among the five chefs called in at short notice to take part in the competition.
The gold menu was a starter of potato and hen’s egg ravioli, girolle, truffle and wild garlic; a main of ways of Herdwick hogget, aubergine, yoghurt and shallot; followed by ‘apple’ and rhubarb for dessert.