If you’re a chef in the UK looking to prove your worth, there is no shortage of chef competitions taking place throughout the year, covering everything from Asian-inspired dishes with the Wing Yip Young Chef of the Year competition, to molluscs in the recent Best Dressed Irish Oyster 2018, writes Chloe Walden.
While there might be a competition guaranteed to suit almost every chef out there, it can sometimes seem that it takes a lot of hard work to attract entries. And, for the chefs, creating an award-worthy entry takes a lot of time, effort and resources. So – are chef competitions really worth it?
In short, yes, they are.
We recently organised and ran the 2018 Best Dressed Irish Oyster event on behalf of our client Bord Bia. The competition saw 12 fantastic chefs from across the UK battle it out in the kitchen to produce the Best Dressed Irish Oyster dish, with Conor Dalton from Five Fields, Mayfair, reigning supreme. It was a fantastic example, even if we do say so ourselves, of how when executed properly, chef events are a benefit to the industry, and this is why:
They highlight young talent
One thing that really stood out during the Best Dressed Irish Oyster competition was the quality and creativeness of the dishes produced by a number of chefs still relatively early on in their careers. With a maximum score of 40 awarded in the competition, a whopping 10 of the competitors scored into the 30s, and the overall winner only dropping two points across the competition.
For all the chefs who competed, it was a fantastic opportunity to showcase their talent in front of some of the best and most respected figures from the industry, all under one roof.
They showcase creativity
No two entries in this year’s competition were alike, and many chefs steered away from the classics, opting instead to put their own unique twist on the dish. Oysters were dressed with a myriad of different ingredients, including truffle, egg yolk, pickles, watermelon and lime pickle. There was even a ‘dessert oyster’, dressed with sugar, rose water and raspberries.
They bring the industry together
The world of hospitality is fast-paced and intense, often involving double shifts, long days and late nights. Chef competitions are the perfect place for everyone in the industry – from chefs to authors to operators and everyone in between, to come together and celebrate how brilliant the sector truly is.
Congratulations to Thomas Brown, winner of the Hot Oyster category, and to Conor Dalton, winner of the Cold Oyster category and overall Best Dressed Irish Oyster 2018.