Chef and sommelier from University of Leicester conference centre secure wins in Venues of Excellence contest
A chef and sommelier at the University of Leicester have cooked up a treat at national awards ceremony celebrating culinary excellence in the conferencing industry.
George Clifton and Pasquale Cardillo from College Court, the University’s conference centre and hotel, have returned from the Venues of Excellence annual culinary competition ‘The Cook and Serve Challenge’ on 29 October with wins in the ‘Best Main – Senior’ and ‘Best Wine Service – Senior’ categories.
George’s winning main course was a sumptuous cannon of lamb with black olive tapenade, roast Leicestershire baby carrots, carrot and truffle puree, crispy kale and butter roasted fondant potato.
He and Pasquale were one of two teams from College Court to enter this year, competing amongst 14 teams in total.
The competition, between teams from the venue consortium’s members, is now in its 18th year and showcases the very best aspiring talent within the catering teams. The competition asks entrants to prepare and serve a three course meal, suitable for an end of conference banquet, and accompanied by cocktails, appropriate wines and coffee.
The 12 professional judges were unanimous in praising the skills and innovation of all the competitors, and they all commented on how the standards had once again risen, with all the chefs and waiters displaying very high levels of professionalism. The 28 amateur judges who acted as our customers and sampled the food, cocktails and wines served by the competitors were equally impressed with what they received.
Pasquale said: “I was absolutely over the moon that I won, I really enjoyed taking part and can’t wait for next year’s competition.”
George said: “I’m really thrilled to have won, it was a great achievement, especially when we had two teams from College Court and the extremely high standards that everyone set. I loved every minute of it and feel very proud.”
College Court’s Head Chef Ryan Richardson and Food and Beverage Manage Emma Pang also competed this year.
Steve Crawford, College Court’s Centre Director, said: “I was delighted that College Court had two teams competing in the Venues of Excellence Chefs Cook & Serve competition. Ryan and Emma and George and Pasquale showed great skill and dedication with George and Pasquale coming out as winners on the day for best Main Course and Best Wine Service.
“It was wonderful in a room of 120 of our peers to see individuals’ names in lights and College Court again displaying the excellence that we have become recognised for. Our trophy cabinet is bursting with trophies and we look forward to attending another awards dinner in a few weeks’ time when we have been shortlisted in four different categories!”
The competition took place at Cambridge Regional College, and was followed by a celebratory awards dinner at longstanding Venues of Excellence member Wyboston Lakes. The competition was chaired by Barry Stonham, OBE and was attended by over 120 guests from Venues of Excellence member venues.