Two chef’s from UCSP’s Plymouth University operation have today competed in TUCO (The University Catering Organisation) Chefs Challenge at Warwick University. Pat Allen and Vicky Whitmarsh were shortlisted from a large number of applicants and had to “cook-off” against 21 teams from across the country.
The teams were given one hour to come up with a three course menu suitable for fine dining, using a selection of ingredients supplied by the organisers. The main protein ingredients were only made known to the teams hours before the competition started.
This was a live cooking competition in front of an audience, and a suite of eight temporary kitchens were created just for this event. Equipment provided in the kitchens included; electric 4 ring hob and oven, electric salamander grill and preparation tables. Competitors were able to bring their own additional small equipment provided it was capable of being set up in the kitchen within five minutes, could run off a standard 13 amp plug socket, and draw no more than 500 watts of power.
Pat and Vicky had little over an hour to prepare, cook and serve their menu. Their offering of crab cakes with fennel puree, poussin with cider mash, rhubarb and apple pie with crème anglais was enough to see them place in the top 30%. As Jim Crouch, UCSP Catering Manager explained; “This is a fantastic achievement and a real indicator of how far our food has come over the last few years. To do so well in our first year of entering is a real testament to the skill of our two chefs. I couldn’t be more proud of them. Bring on next year!”
Pat Allen is the company’s head hospitality chef whilst Vicky Whitmarsh works as Chef de Partie at Drake’s Kitchen in the main University Campus.