After a thrilling final, Rhys Richardson, Development Chef for Servest Catering, has been awarded the coveted title of Blue Arrow Chef of the Year 2015.
The competition was open to all ambitious and promising culinary professionals, offering a chance to showcase their talent to industry experts. With over thirty applicants this year, the competition was tough. The four competitors had previously battled through the challenging semi-finals held in London and Edinburgh to win a sought-after place in the final.
Cooking alongside Richardson were; Michal Wlodarczyk from The King’s Head House in Eastington, Gloucestershire, and BaxterStorey’s Jonathan Taylor and Rian Devaney.
The contestants had just three hours to cook a four-course meal, consisting of their signature dishes, under the watchful eye of an expert panel of judges. There was even an extra challenge in the form of the fish course, for which all four contestants had to prepare a dish using set ingredients, including hand-dived scallops..
The judging panel comprised of; Richard Skinner, Executive Chef for Artizian Catering (and Blue Arrow’s first Chef of the Year 2013), Sudha Saha, Executive Head Chef at the Saffron Group, and Mark Sargeant, renowned Michelin Star chef. They were tasked with judging the originality, skill and flavour combinations, as well as the visual presentation, use of seasonal ingredients and the complexity of each dish.
Servest’s Development Chef Richardson was unanimously declared the winner; his food was described as ‘absolutely delicious’ and the presentation of his dishes received especially high praise. Richardson’s fish course was the standout dish on his menu, being highly acclaimed for its innovative combination of flavours and mouth-watering presentation.
Richardson commented, “I’m over the moon! A lot of hard work and planning has gone in to creating my dishes and I’m chuffed that each dish looked and tasted the way I wanted. I couldn’t have done much more, so I’m elated with the feedback the judges gave me. I couldn’t have asked for better praise.”
In addition to being named Blue Arrow Chef of the Year, Richardson was awarded a personalised chef’s jacket and luxury 5-Star gourmet weekend break to Rome with £1500 spending money.
The winning menu:
Starter – Venison tartare, crispy quail’s egg, smoked emulsion and beetroot
Fish – Duo of hand-dived scallops, Granny Smith apple, hazelnut crème fraîche, chorizo oil and pea shoots
Main – Pan seared partridge, horseradish mash, black cabbage, date purée and pomegranate reduction
Dessert – Clementine cheesecake, gingerbread and pickled cranberries
Toni Richards from Blue Arrow said: “Now in its third year, this competition aims to celebrate the skill of chefs from across the UK. It was amazing to see such talent at work. We would like to thank all those who entered, and the support we received from our judges and clients has been phenomenal. A huge congratulations from everyone at Blue Arrow to Rhys and Servest on this fantastic achievement.”