Professional MasterChef winner joins national school caterer


‘Culinary genius’ Ash Mair to lead Cucina Restaurants development chef team

Ash Mair, the professional MasterChef champion once described by Michel Roux Jr. as “a supreme talent” and having “the gift of culinary genius” has joined Cucina Restaurants to lead its development team in creating new food styles and menu ranges for 60,000 school customers nationally.

Ash will be working with Cucina’s chefs to develop and roll out a range of new menu ideas, including a special travelling street food range which is being planned for the start of new school year in September.

Discussing his new role with Cucina, Ash said:

“I absolutely love doing this, it is such a creative challenge to produce food this good within the constraints of school catering. It is completely different from anything I have done before and Cucina is like no other school food company I have ever come across. They are really pushing things to find out just how good school food can get. We will be getting kids involved in trying out new food ideas, seeing what they like and what they are interested in. 

“When I first mention to people that I am working with a school catering company they are surprised until I explain it a bit more. The food this company produces is actually better than at a lot of places I have eaten at in the high street. They just refuse to take shortcuts.”

Cucina’s Director of Food, Sam Davies said:

“This is very exciting for us. The work we are doing with Ash isn’t just about the food, it is about teaching about food, too. This is why we are put so much into research – taking note of food trends and developing new dishes in popular and trending formats. Ash really gets what we are about as a company, he has contributed some fantastic ideas.”

After Ash’s victory on the BBC MasterChef programme, Michel Roux Jr. commented:

“He pushes himself to the absolute limit and always delivers. Ash has got a gift. His food is outstanding.”

BBC programme host Gregg Wallace added:

“His food is incredible. Stand-out, world-class, fantastic dishes. He has given me some of the best food I have ever tasted.” 

From September 2015, Cucina’s new range of street food dishes, presenting a different dish for each day of the week, will begin its travels to the company’s contracts around the country.

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