The Vegan Catering Challenge
Gourmet vegan food is a winner for everyone
Six finalists battled to impress judges at the cook-off final of the Vegan Society Catering Challenge on Mon 27 Oct 2008. The chefs proved that great vegan food is a truly gourmet experience. The winners were officially announced on World Vegan Day (Sat 1 Nov 2008) at the West Midlands Vegan Festival in Wolverhampton.
Paul Russell and Nigel Winter from flavourphotos.com
Paul Russell and Nigel Winter
Paul Russell Starter from flavourphotos.com
Paul Russell's starter
Paul Russell, a Lecturer in Hospitality and Culinary Arts Management at University College Birmingham, scooped first prize and a cheque for '500 (all pictures courtesy of http://www.flavourphotos.com).
He said, 'I am delighted to be able to showcase this fascinating cuisine. Designing a vegan menu really highlights the creativity of the chef and requires considerable planning in terms of flavours, textures and nutritional value. The competition is also a great opportunity to prove to the industry that vegan food can be just as exciting and diverse as any other cuisine.'
Paul Russell's winning menu was 'Soupe au Pistou with a Potato Ravioli'; 'Crisp Fried Baby Artichokes in a Poppy Seed Coating, Served on a Pea and Roasted Red Pepper Risotto, with a Cashew Aioli'; and 'Dark Chocolate Truffle Cake with Cherries'.
Paul Russell Main from flavourphotos.com
Paul Russell's main
The judges were Chad Sarno of Saf Restaurant, Christine Tilbury of the Cordon Vert Cookery School and Andrew Maxwell of the Tante Marie School of Cookery. Paul Russell Dessert from flavourphotos.com
Paul Russell's dessert
Second prize ('200) was won by Peter Walters, Executive Chef, Keele University based at Keele Hall ' 'the premier conference and fine dining experience in Staffordshire'. Peter Walter's starter, 'Grilled Portabella Mushroom Topped with a Beignet of Chilli Bean Mousse on Puy Lentil Sauce with Smoked Paprika and Baby Beets' particularly impressed judges.
Third prize ('100) was secured by Richard Craig, Competing Chef at University of Glasgow Hospitality Services. Richard Craig's starter, 'Sweet Potato and Butternut Corn Cake with Minted Pea and Red Pepper Taster, Organic Herb-Baked Crunch, Pesto and Fajita Salsa', was especially commended by the judges. The other high-flying finalists were John Bayley, owner of Cashew - Creative Vegetarian and Vegan Catering, in Lewes, East Sussex; Wayne Shooter, Chef at HMP Whatton near Nottingham; and Terry Woolcock, Executive Chef at Hatherley Manor Hotel.
The Vegan Society 'Vegan Catering for All' project aims to improve the quality and availability of vegan food. Good vegan food is a great solution for caterers because it appeals to just about everyone - it's tasty, healthy, ethical and cuts your carbon footprint. The Vegan Society offers free advice on getting the most from vegan food.