The hunt for the new 2016/2017 Major Series winner has started and the competition smells good!
The first heat of the Major series in the North of the country got off to a great start, thanks to the fresh new talent from Hartlepool College. Hosting the competition for the very first time, the college was successful in facilitating the event and its students worked hard to present a vast array of dishes from the Static Bread Category to the Live Street food, Desserts and the ever-coveted chance to appear in the finals with the Live Chicken dish.
This year the bread class was outstanding. Not only did the students manage to incorporate a wide variety of Major Products into their dough but the flavour profiles and visual aspects were incredible. From Major Strawberry Fruit Base infused loaves to Major Beef Stock and onion buns, the judges Brian Eastment Executive Development Chef for Major and Wayne Harris from the Craft Guild of Chefs, were thoroughly impressed with the "wonderful display of baking aptitude."
The Hartlepool kitchen really came alive during the lives and the results were even golden. Amongst the contenders for Chicken and Street were two finalists from the last series Amy Pattison and Phoebe Gallen, who went on to steal Gold and Silver prizes. Phoebe snuck into the lead in the Static Bread challenge and came Silver in the Chicken. But is was Amy who came best overall for her succulent Mediterranean Mari Base Chicken dish. She will go on to represent the college for the Northern heat alongside her peer Eljohn Latayan, who won his place thanks to his Confit Chicken served with a Mediterranean risotto and Parmesan Crisp. Congratulations also go out to Jack Fraser, for his Gold in the live desserts with his impressive Cherry soufflé.
With the addition of a special guest Judge Private Chef Sean Wilkinson, who provided a hands-on workshop for the competitors proving that Major Fruit bases really "pack a punch even with minimal application", there was an even bigger buzz and an added educational element for the days' competitors. Whilst the final results were being taken, all students were asked to prepare and plate up a Dark Chocolate Cherry Delice following the chef's recipe. And they literally jumped at the chance.
Not only was it a positive day for the new hosts and aspiring young chefs but the judges themselves sang the competition's praise. "Major have always been very supportive of new talent and competitions like the Major Series are instrumental in raising the bar. Not only do they give students a good incite into the world of catering, the hard work that it entails, they spread word about the opportunities that are out there for the taking. Given the chance to work with such great and versatile products, events like this prove that the passion is still very much there. I wish that competitions like this had been around when I was training", was the feedback from Wayne Harris, official Judge on behalf of the Craft Guild of Chefs for the fourth consecutive year.
"It was a pleasure to be involved in the Major Series competition," said Guest Judge Sean. "Refreshing to see enthusiasm, creativity and innovation which resulted in some outstanding dishes I would be happy to have on my own menu."
"An exciting start to the year indeed" was the resounding agreement from Major's very own Executive Chef Brian Eastment. "We look forward to seeing who else will come forward in the following heats."