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BCF Chef of the Year 2018.

1524571725Ian Musgrave, sous chef at The Ritz London has been crowned BCF Chef of the Year 2018, following a close final today at University College Birmingham.

    • Who is Ian Musgrave, sous chef at The Ritz London?
    • Find out more about the British Culinary Federation
    • Meet the finalists of the BCF Chef of the Year 2018

Ian has worked at The Ritz since 2011 and has also worked at the Luxury Collection resort in Greece, and the Fota Island Hotel in Cork, Ireland. He’s no stranger to competitions, having competed previously in the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Chef of the Year. He was also a Roux Scholarship semi-finalist in 2013 and runner-up in the San Pellegrino Young Chef 2016. Edward Marsh, junior sous chef at The Manor House, Castle Coombe placed second and third place was awarded to Richard Dutton, head chef at University College Birmingham.

Ian’s winning menu was: Langoustine â la nage, cauliflower and dulse seaweed; Irish beef sirloin, caramelised whey onions, confit leeks and morels and Chocolate soufflé with crème Chantilly.

As well as receiving a cash prize of £2,500, Ian now has the opportunity to join the England National Culinary Team, who will be representing the country at the Culinary World Cup in Luxembourg in November 2018.

Langoustine â la nage, cauliflower and dulse seaweed Photography by Kevin Byrne

Langoustine â la nage, cauliflower and dulse seaweed
Photography by Kevin Byrne

He said: “I didn’t expect to win, but I was in it to win it. I was up against some great people. When I went into it, I set out to enjoy what I was going to do.  It was a good day and a really good atmosphere, and it feels amazing to win.”

Sponsors of the competition were Aubrey Allen and Bord Bia – Irish Food Board. At a butchery masterclass at Aubrey Allen on Monday, April 9th, they found out that they had to use Irish Sirloin of beef for their main course. The competitors had to cook three courses: starter, main and dessert for two covers in just two hours. Judges for the final included: Ashley Palmer-Watts, Dinner at Heston Blumenthal; Sat Bains, Restaurant Sat Bains; Adam Smith, Coworth Park; Brian Turner CBEPierre KoffmannRoger Narbett MCA  and Martin Carabott(Current BCF Chef of the Year and Roux Scholar 2018).

Ashley Palmer-Watts said: “I thought that the standard was really good. Some really pushed themselves creatively, others took the more classical route. It’s been brilliant judging on the execution, depending on how courageous they were. Sirloin of beef is a tricky one, but I thought that it was nicely cooked for the majority and there was a good variance in what they were trying to do with it and how they approached their dishes.”

Chef and restaurateur Andreas Antona was one of the organisers of the competition. He said: “From what I’ve seen, the standard is very high. To get through to the final, you have to go through the semi-finals and attend a masterclass so there’s sort of an educational scenario. They were given their meats and had a week or two to think about what they wanted to do with it. The sponsors [Aubrey Allen and Bord Bia – Irish Food Board] want to see some innovation.”

He added: “I also think that the panel of judges is second to none. You’re not going to get a better judging panel!”

Three Michelin-starred chef and judge for the competition, Pierre Koffman said: “I think that the standard was very high. They didn’t have to cook the same dish – they were all different dishes, so as a judge, it is a question of taste. I think it was a good idea that the meat was the same ingredient throughout. There were one or two dishes that I would have given 20 out of 20. Overall, it was a very good competition.”

BCF Chef of the Year 2018 finalists Photography by Kevin Byrne

BCF Chef of the Year 2018 finalists
Photography by Kevin Byrne

Awards were presented at a dinner ceremony at University College Birmingham this evening by Brian Turner CBE. Guests enjoyed a six course meal with matching wines, including Lemon Sole supplied by Channel Fisheries, sirloin of Irish beef from Aubrey Allen and Bord Bia and a selection of artisan cheeses from Fromage to Age.

The other BCF Chef of the Year 2018 finalists were: Matthew Nicholls, sous chef, Cheal’s of Henley; Josh Donachie, sous chef, The Frog; Leonidas Kattou, senior sous chef, Simpson’s Restaurant; Greg Newman, head chef, The Kings Hotel, Chipping Campden; Jamie Coleman, head chef, Masons Arms; Ashley Sargent, head chef, Clare College, Cambridge and Mark Stinchcombe, head chef, Eckington Manor.