University Stars Shine in National Catering Competitions

The University of Sheffield’s talented catering team is celebrating after six of their best-enjoyed success in a series of competitions designed to highlight the culinary skills of those working in the education sector.

The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) is the leading professional membership body for ‘in-house’ caterers operating within the higher and further sector.  The annual competitions, which were held at the University of Warwick on 21 and 22 March, are part of its commitment to advancing the learning and developing of catering and hospitality teams.

University Chef, Rob Hattersley, beat off stiff competition to scoop Gold in the Salon Culinaire: Restaurant Plated Dessert category where he impressed the judges with his creations which comprised an orb of coconut and passion fruit with mango caviar, passion gel and sea salted caramel popcorn; and ‘beets and berries’ – a beetroot mouse cassis gel, wild strawberry creameux with a beetroot glaze, served with a sweet cooked baby beet, raspberry gel and choc soil.

Tracy Carr, the University’s Executive Chef, and Joe Berry, Head Chef at Inox Dine, tasted success as they secured Bronze in the main event of the two-day competitions, the Chef’s Challenge.  The Challenge, which took place early on the second morning, required teams of two chefs to cook a three-course meal from a list of ingredients presented to them at 5pm the previous evening.  Tracy and Joe had just one hour to create a menu suitable for fine dining in front of a live audience.  The judges commended Tracy and Joe for their teamwork as they prepared  pan fried fillet of plaice with a fennel, orange and watercress salad with a burnt orange dressing; ballotine of poussin with a fresh herb mousse and pancetta, crown roast breast, Rosti potatoes, buttered leeks and roast poussin jus; followed by Breton apple tart with salt caramel and a white chocolate cream.

James Moxom, Duty Manager at the University’s Inox Dine restaurant, excelled in the Service Skills Category, coming in 5th just eight points behind the winner. James was judged on his preparation of a themed table setting as well as his customer care, product knowledge, technical skills and teamwork.

Chris Marsh, who works in the Diamond Kitchen, and Alex McFarlane, who works in View Deli and is a student of the University, also shone in the Barista category.  Alex, who scored the highest technical mark of the event, was placed 5th out of the 30 entrants and Chris secured 8th place.  As a result of being in the top 10, they have both been invited to work with Bewleys UK at the London Coffee Festival later this month.

David McKown, the University’s Head of Training & Quality, said: “The team did a fantastic job at the competitions, with every single one of them being placed in the top 10 in their category.  We’re all very proud of the high quality of work they produced and the professionalism with which it was prepared and presented.  It’s a testament to the hard work and creativity they deliver on a daily basis back home here in Sheffield.”

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