Cucina chefs ‘Best in Class’ at Salon Culinaire

Chefs from leading school catering firm Cucina Restaurants won ‘Best in Class’, Silver and Bronze medals in the recent Salon Culinaire competition at London’s prestigious Hotelympia event.

Cucina chefs Andy Wilcock, Mark Cartwright and Dean Wentworth were all winners, with Mark and Andy taking Silver and ‘Best in Class’ in Thursday’s  ‘Live Theatre’ Soups and Sauce Main Course sponsored by Major International. Using food products from Major, their soup creations were lobster bisque, wild garlic and lemon oil with parmesan beignets, chicken consommé, allomtment vegetables, mushroom butter as well as their own spelt bannock bread.

Their main course was lamb hotpot, streaky wrapped loin, sourdough crumbed sweetbreads, roasted cepes, broccoli pureé and a thyme and red win jus.

Andy and fellow Cucina chef Dean Wentworth also won bronze on Monday’s Senior Display salon, with Dean producing pan roasted cornish mackerel with textures of heritage beetroot and confit fillet of wild turbot with a smoked mussel velouté.

Andy’s Bronze medal winning main and dessert dishes, to be cooked within an hour, were wild garlic and mustard rolled fillet of pork, smoked bacon mash, crispy black pudding with fluid apple gel and cider jus,  followed by sticky date banana pudding, hot toddy sauce, white coffee ice cream and salted pistachio brittle.

Celebrating his success, Andy Wilcock said: “What I really liked about it was that we were all true to ourselves. We cooked food that we liked, and there was nothing fancy about it really. This was good, well cooked food and it was fantastic that the judges recognised this.”

Mark Cartwright also commented: “The bit that amazed me was that I had never done anything like that before. I had never cooked in a competition in my life, so I was amazed and thrilled to win.”

Expressing her delight with the awards, Cucina’s Director of Food Sam Davies said: “Our guys were up against some of the finest chefs around and they triumphed. I’m immensely proud of them.”

Cucina MD Steve Quinn added: “This also underlines the calibre of chefs we have working for us, and gives an idea of the quality of food that our chefs create for over 50,000 of the nation’s youngsters every day.”

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