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UK Visionary Chef of the Year 2012

Chef Liam Davies of Hogarth hall

Two young Midlands Chefs have reached the finals as the prestigious Visionary Chef of the Year competition. A young chef working in the kitchens of a Midlands country house hotel Hogarths has made it through to the final of a national cookery competition, after impressing at a regional heat, and Head Chef Adam Brown of Brockencote Hall, Worcestershire will be mentor for another competitor.

Liam Davies, chef at the Bar 8 Brasserie at Hogarths Hotel near Dorridge, Solihull, impressed at the Northampton heat of visionarydining.com’s Visionary Chef 2012 competition, and will join mentor chef Paul Foster in the national cook-off final in November along with eight other competing chefs and their mentors.

At Hogarths, Davies works under Martin Blunos, the hotel’s Michelin-starred Culinary Director, and will soon move from the brasserie to the fine dining restaurant, due to open this Autumn. “Bringing up young chefs and helping them to achieve their potential is just part of the job for more experienced chefs,” said Blunos. “I’m also in the process of placing Liam in training with Richard Allen in Jersey, a close friend who holds his own Michelin star. Liam has a huge amount of potential and that’s great news for Hogarths and for dining in the Midlands.”

The final of Visionary Chef 2012 takes place on November 29th at Northampton City College, with each of the nine heat winners working together with their mentor chef to create one course at the grand final dinner. The public and esteemed guests on the night will become the judges of the winning dish and Chef team – Master Chef the professionals style

Nine of the UK’s most talented and celebrated chefs including recently refurbished Worcestershire’s Brockencote Halls Head Chef Adam Brown, who will engage in a gastronomic competition at the end of 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 chef 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 mentored by Aiden Byrne, Rohan Nevins, pictured. This year’s crowing judge will be celebrated Michelin Starred celebrity chef Mark Sergeant, protégé of Gordon Ramsay.
The competition is inspired by visionarydining.com 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 £80m Northampton College, a venue that links with the visionary feature of the event, with trade as well as public guests who will each judge the dishes created, and all scores are pooled for the finals.

Mike Coppock, Director of Hospitality at Northampton College is not only relishing working with 9 world class chefs for a day, and tough judge Mark Sergeant, 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 Mark Sergeant, alongside Peter Birnie, Former Chief Restaurant Inspector at the AA who 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 visionarydining.com, 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. To be Chief Judge at the Visionary Chef of the Year dinner we look for a chef with impeccable 3 Star credentials, a celebrated TV Career and an overview of international culinary standards second to none, and Mark Sergeant is just that man, we look forward to working with him”

For tickets the public can purchase a limited number, and become a judge on the night by visiting www.visionarydining.com

The UK National Mentors

Aiden Byrne ~ 3 AA Rosettes ~ The Church Green, Lymm, Cheshire
Kenny Atkinson ~ 3 AA Rosettes ~ Rockliffe Hall, Darlington, County Durham
Matt Gillan ~ 1 Michelin Star ~ The Pass, South Lodge, Lower Beeding
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
Adam Brown ~ 2 AA Rosette (rising) Brockencote Hall, Worcestershire

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
Graham Gardner Chef de Partie Blythswood Square, Glasgow
Heats 9 winner yet to be announced. Held on October 29th with Chef Mentor Ben Spalding.

5: The Judges

Chief Judge Mark Sergeant Michelin Starred celebrity chef, protégé of Gordon Ramsay 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. Paul Brown MD of Continental Chef Supplies, Alex Shannon Sales Director of Sous Vide Tools, Gordon Cartwright MD visionarydining.com

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