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05 Apr 2023

The culinary community celebrates another successful Salon Culinaire 

The culinary community celebrates another successful Salon Culinaire 

International Salon Culinaire returned to ExCeL London alongside Hotel, Restaurant & Catering (HRC) on 20-22 March to showcase talented chefs from across the UK in over 100 live and static competitions.  

Salon Director Steve Munkley commented: “Salon Culinaire 2023 was an outstanding success, with all the theatre kitchens buzzing from early doors till the last competition. I was so proud to see the industry showing off its professionalism, creativity, hunger and tenacity. Well done to all the chefs that took part in this year’s event.” 

The Lumina Lamb Challenge Best in Class was secured by Ashok Kumar, Executive Chef at Indian Essence by Atul Kochhar, who in addition to topping the group has won an all-expenses- trip to New Zealand courtesy of Lumina Lamb.  

For the second year running Unox, the event’s combi oven partner, will be taking the Live Theatre Best in Class winners on an all-expenses-paid trip to Venice and the company’s global HQ in Padua.  

The Tilda Chef Team of the Year, in association with the Craft Guild of Chefs, was won by Kevin Moffat and Denzil Monteiro of the Intercontinental Hotel Group, both of whom have won an all-expenses-paid trip to Vercelli and the Piedmont region in Italy to visit the spectacular rice paddies and mills responsible for the world-famous Tilda rice. 

Pembrokeshire chef Daniel Jones scooped first prize in the Pub Chef of the Year category, in partnership with the BII and sponsored by Essential Cuisine.  

He said: “I am over the moon to win the Pub Chef of the Year at International Salon Culinaire. It’s a great honour to have cooked alongside other great culinary talent, and I’m delighted to have been recognised by the esteemed judges on the panel this year. I’ll be taking my accolade back to my hometown of Fishguard, where I hope I’ve made the community proud.” 

James Dougan and Alan Dougan, from Greater Glasgow and Clyde were awarded Best in Class in a fiercely contested exhibition that saw Scotland, Northern Ireland and England come together for the first time in the live cooking theatre for the NHS 4 Nations Chef Challenge.  

Hospital Caterers Association Chair Brian Robb attended the event and said afterwards: “What a day, the HCA NHS 4 Nations Challenge exceeded all expectations. Nick Vadis calmed the teams prior to their experience and wow they did not disappoint. Public sector catering was put back on the map with exceedingly high standards. All our competitors have left this experience with new friendships and treasured memories.” 

Hospitality chef Adam Smith has been named Sodexo Chef of the Year 2023, competing in the final which saw eight of Sodexo’s chefs go head-to-head in a 90-minute live cook-off. The chefs were tasked with creating their dishes with the minimal amount of food wasted. 

David Mulcahy, Food Innovation & Sustainability Director at Sodexo UK and Ireland, said: “Every year our chefs put their all into the competition and we want to thank them all for the time and effort they took to enter. Judging all the entries is always difficult when you have such a high calibre of chefs across the business. The eight finalists did exceptionally well to reach the final and they all excelled on the day.    

“The pressure of a live cook off at an industry event where they have to perform at their best in front of not only some highly skilled and successful chef judges but in front of their peers too is something that will put them in good stead for future competitions as well as their day-to-day jobs. We are proud of all our finalists but huge congratulations to Adam for taking the title of Sodexo Chef of the Year 2023.” 

Chefs from across Compass Group UK & Ireland participated in Salon Culinaire 2023, travelling from as far as Scotland and Cornwall to compete, with representation from across its business including ESS, Levy UK + Ireland, Restaurant Associates, Eurest, 14Forty and Chartwells. 

Competing in around 30 different competitions across the three elements: Salon Live – live cooking competitions; Salon Display – static exhibits; and Skills Theatre – live kitchen and service skills competitions for students; the Compass team of chefs achieved an impressive 12 Best in Class awards and three Best Overall awards, plus six Gold, 17 Silver, 17 Bronze, 16 Merit. 

Chefs from ESS dominated the gold award positions with wins from: 

  • Edward Perrett, ESS, Junior Starter Plate 

  • Rachel Michie, ESS, Junior Starter Plate 

  • Rachel Michie, ESS, Petite Fours 

  • Izabela Ginter, ESS, Perfect Pasta 

  • Dougal MacPherson, ESS, The Alaska Seafood Masters 

  • Shona Sutherland, ESS, Table of Honour   

Nick Vadis, Culinary Director at Compass Group UK and Ireland, said: “I am very proud of our chefs and at competitions we see their talent, creativity and work shine bright. Our accolades have gone to our junior apprentices as well as more senior Exec chefs – demonstrating the importance of investing in our chef talent at all levels and the opportunities we create for them to progress and develop. Events like these are a great opportunity to challenge our chefs and for them to learn. A huge well done to everyone involved.” 

The full list of Merit, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Best in Class winners can be found at  


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