|January 27, 2011|
Young Brighton chef, Simon Duncan from Sam’s of Brighton, has made it through to the grand final for the hotly contended title of ‘Sussex Young Chef of the Year’, sponsored by Blue Spark Organisation, as part of the Sussex Food & Drink Awards 2010/11.
At just 20 years old, Simon was the youngest candidate who fought against five other Sussex chefs, all selected by public vote, on Tuesday 9 November in the dramatic ‘cook off’. All the chefs faced enormous pressure this year having to produce a full three-course menu, based on local and seasonal ingredients, as opposed to the one course required in previous years.
The ‘masterchef-style’ cook off was hosted by City College Brighton & Hove and all the young chefs faced a nail biting wait before having to perform against the clock, producing each dish under the watchful eyes of the expert judging panel chaired by Clive Beddall OBE, Chairman of the Sussex Food & Drink Awards.
Said Simon, “I am absolutely thrilled at getting through to the finals – it’s been a fantastic, albeit slightly nerve wracking experience. The competition was fierce and as I was the youngest contender I wasn’t sure if I would make it through, but Sam Metcalfe from Sam’s Brighton has been a fantastic mentor and obviously all our efforts and preparation has paid off!” Joining Simon in the grand finals is Steven Edwards, Sous Chef for South Lodge Hotel in Horsham and Hanna Payne, The Pass Restaurant also at South Lodge.
Clive Beddall OBE, Chairman of the Judges for the Sussex Food & Drink Awards, commended runners up: Will Stanyer from Hotel Du Vin, Brighton; Daniel Whittle from Temptation café, Brighton and Bradley Jordan from Restaurant Tristan in Horsham, who fought hard in the cook off this week. “It was one of the most closely-run competitions in the five-year history of the event and although they didn’t make it through to the final, their food was superb and they showed huge promise for the future – we hope very much that they will come back to compete again.”
Dhrutee Davé, Director of Haywards Heath based food recruitment agency, Blue Spark Organisation, said: “It has been a fantastic experience to be sponsors of this very popular category this year. The six candidates truly proved themselves in a very intense cook off and all were worthy of a place in the final – it was an extremely difficult decision for the judges to choose the top three as all the dishes were outstanding, but Simon, Hanna and Steven were exceptional and their dishes were truly delicious.”
The three finalists now face another two months of waiting to see who the overall winner is which will be announced at the Sussex Food & Drink Awards dinner, to be held at the East Sussex Golf Resort & Spa on 27th January 2011 and hosted by Danny Pike from BBC Sussex.
Organisers have already opened sales for tickets to attend the awards dinner, now dubbed the ‘Sussex foodie event of the year’. This black tie event promises to be the best yet, celebrating the awards’ 5th birthday and includes a Sussex bubbly and ale reception, sponsored by Harveys; a stunning seven-course banquet dinner using the very best Sussex produce, created by the talented Andy Wiles, East Sussex National’s head chef; lots of entertainment; and a lively Oscars-style awards presentation.
www.sussexfoodawards.biz to find out how to buy tickets for this fabulous event or call Natural PR on 01273 857242 for more information.