Another year, another GREAT finale to the Major Series at Hospitality 2017. Recent changes to the longstanding culinary competition for the chefs of the future prove to be a recipe for success.
Day one of the Great Hospitality Show 2017, Major finalists took to the stage in the live theatre to do culinary battle in the Live Chicken Class. And the competition was HOT! Charged with the task of cooking two identical chicken dishes, served with a starch and vegetables of choice and incorporating products from Major's exciting flavour portfolio, the young chefs gleaned from the countrywide heats did their utmost to bring the flavour. From Middle Eastern inspiration to Mediterranean and British with a touch of class, the students gave it their all and everyone delivered on time.
Following the recent makeover of the Major Series at the end of last year, positive reverberations from the newly introduced mentor day were unanimously felt across the panel of judges. As a competition which has historically been aimed at aspiring young talent and to encourage the future generations of chefs, a day dedicated to hands-on training using Major's products and competition tips onsite at the Major House prior to the final cook-offs, gave the students a valuable window of insight into the culinary competition arena at large. Wayne Harris, the judge from the Craft Guild of Chefs, was the first to notice the positive influence the day had already had on this year’s competitors. "The mentor day certainly helped the finalists. Not only did it give the students a better understanding of the Major Product range and a more comprehensive knowledge of how best to use them in practice but the students were more informed about what the judges would be expecting of them in a competition at this level. Everyone raised their game accordingly.”
Harris was not alone in his beliefs. No stranger to the competition arena, Major’s own Judge Development Chef, Fergus Martin, former Head Chef of Darwin College Cambridge and Team Manager of the Craft Guild of Chefs culinary team, was equally pleased with the calibre of the young talent. “The standard was exemplary. The chefs worked very cleanly and tidily and made a good use of Major’s products. Something we haven’t seen so much in the past, all of the candidates used more than one product, showcasing their diverse uses to present very good-looking dishes. The awards, two silvers, a merit and four bronzes, reflect the level of competition and prove that the mentor day was a great success. It has brought the standard to a higher level.”
Winner on the day came in the form of Megan Mccarron from Exeter College. New to the competition arena, Megan received overall best in class and a silver for her very relevant and on-trend dish. Mccarron presented a Pistachio Crusted Chicken Boudin, stuffed with a Moroccan Fast and served with an Israeli cous cous, asparagus and coriander and pistachio oil dressing, using Major Moroccan Mari Base and Major Applewood & Hickory Smoke.
As part of the learning curve, all of the students were keen to receive feedback on how they could have improved their dishes. “It is always a pleasure to work with students who are receptive to constructive criticism and eager to improve. To take the example of Megan’s winning dish, it was well executed, very modern, very current, especially the Israeli cous cous which had a wonderful flavour, it was only lacking a bit of sauce, which could have both enhanced and finished the dish,”
Delighted with her results, Megan assured Major that she will be taking on board the top tips and would most certainly like to be part of the competition arena moving forward. “I can’t quite believe it. I was a little nervous beforehand but knowing what was expected of me, helped me achieve my goal,” were the young chef’s words.
"A really worthwhile effort all round", was the conclusion from judge Bob McDonald, Major’s Consultant Development Chef for Ireland, who flew over for the occasion. “Another great end to a great Series! There was a definite jump in level and I personally look forward to seeing how, with increased mentoring and closer work with Major going forward, we will see the competition go from strength to strength.”
Are you a talented junior or senior student chef? Do you think you have what it takes to win the UK's premier culinary competition? Download the brochure for the 2017 heats now http://www.majorint.com/competitions
or email: [email protected]
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