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17 Nov 2022

What are the judges looking for at International Salon Culinaire?

What are the judges looking for at International Salon Culinaire?

Historic chef competition International Salon Culinaire takes place on 20-22 March 2023 at ExCeL London alongside HRC. Hundreds of competitors will take part in numerous live and static competitions, but what truly makes a recipe for success? 

HRC caught up with some of International Salon Culinaire's esteemed judges for 2023 to learn how chefs can best prepare for the event.

Russell Batemen, Head Chef, Falcon Hotel

Why should chefs take part in live competition?

Competitions give chefs an opportunity to test themselves to see how far they have developed and find out their professional boundaries. You have the chance to meet and network with like minded people, also improve your confidence in your ability.

What advice would you give chefs preparing for the event? 

  • Read the brief fully, over and over again.
  • Do what is asked of you.
  • Talk to colleagues about your entry and share your thoughts.
  • Write everything down, from the beginning of the process to the end, you will learn how your thoughts develop and often find many answers looking back over your work.
  • Do what you know, competitions aren’t places to experiment.
  • Practice, practice and practice again, if you can practice in a different environment to the one you normally work in, this will prepare you for the real thing.

What advice would you give chefs for competing on the day?

Focus and concentrate. Remember what you’ve practised, be confident. Taste, Taste, Taste, Taste. Flavour is King! Smile, enjoy yourself.

Victoria Scupham, Chef to the Royal Household

Why should chefs take part in live competition?

Chefs should take part in the live competition because it will really help to develop their skills along with their confidence and proving to themselves what they can do. Taking part will also help them to develop new skills along the way and meet lots of new people in the industry.

What advice would you give chefs for preparing for the event?

The advice I would give to Chefs preparing for the event would be to make sure you practice beforehand as much as possible so you can feel confident when competing because you know what you are doing. Make sure when you are practising you time yourself so that you are able to do the task in the allotted time frame and not having to rush at the end to finish.  

What advice would you give chefs for competing on the day?

The advice I would give to Chefs competing on the day would be to enjoy the day as much as possible as when you look back you will realise you have done something amazing in having the confidence to compete. Try to remain as calm and relaxed as possible which is easier said than done because you have got such a big audience around you watching but try to block all of that out and focus on your task.

Cyrus Todiwala OBE, Chef Patron, Cafe Spice Namaste

What advice would you give chefs preparing for the event?  

  • Mentally plan your timing.
  • Make sure you have all your ingredients.
  • Be careful not to carry too much and waste.
  • Ask in advance about the equipment and familiarise yourself.
  • Plan your hygiene it carries many marks.
  • Marks are cut for too much pre mise en place.
  • Hot food hot plate.
  • Seasoning ultimate point loser.
  • Printed menu for judges to read. And putting recipes out is an added bonus.
  • Show action. 

What advice would you give chefs competing on the day?

Keep a clear mind and pay attention to to the questions asked, there is a reason why they are asked.

Be aware of hygiene, neatness, wastage, too much prep, your presentation and the appearance and texture of your food. Taste, taste, taste, stay calm and focused and have fun. 

Consultant Chef Hayden Groves

Why should chefs take part in live competition? 

Its always great to challenge yourself as a chef, and just the process of entering, and focusing on how to extract the maximum flavour out of your ingredients, is a learning in itself, and will ultimately make you a better cook.

What advice would you give chefs for preparing for the event?

Practice, practice, practice, but always with a nod to the equipment and time frames you have available on the day, primary focus should be about deliciousness, and everything you present on the plate will be judged so it should have a sense of place on the dish, seasoned and be at the right temperature.

What advice would you give chefs for competing on the day?

Arrive in plenty of time, watch a few other classes, to see the set up of the kitchens, Enjoy the experience, try to relax and cook from the heart, if a mistake happens, either work through it, or don’t put it on the final plate to be judged. 

From gold to a certificate of merit always ask the judges for feedback, talk to other competitors and be proud as the hardest part is having the guts to enter and put yourself in the arena, Bon Chance!

Chef Michael Kitts, Director of Culinary Arts at Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management

Why should chefs take part in live competition?

You learn by watching other competitors and how they go about there work, it also builds your own confidence.

What advice would you give chefs for preparing for the event?

Practice until your ready, once your happy, stop practising! You can actually over practice, work smart, tidy and believe in what you are doing.

What advice would you give chefs for competing on the day?

Stay focused, taste your food (live competitors) be proud of what you produce and enjoy yourself.

Anthony Marshall, Executive Chef, London Hilton on Park Lane

Why should chefs take part in live competition?

Live competitions are wonderful for competing against your rivals, learning and believing in your own ability, but more importantly it makes you stronger as a chef and networking with the judges and other professionals widens your vision.

What advice would you give chefs for preparing for the event?

Practice, practice, practice is the key to your success and get your Chef on board as all knowledge is helpful. Once you have practice, speed improves quality and becomes second nature .

What advice would you give chefs for competing on the day?

Be prepared, check everything twice, be relaxed have an early night!

Frank Coughlan, Executive Head Chef, BaxterStorey

Why should chefs take part in live competition?

It is a great way to meet up with other chefs and see what they have as ideas and with Live Competition all chefs are under the same pressure so its about what happens on the day, it’s also a wonderful way of networking building relationship with fellow Chefs and I can say they stay as friends for many years.  

What advice would you give chefs for preparing for the event?

Practice your dish try to speak with chefs who have done Live Competitions in the pass and ask to advise we never too old to learn.

What advice would you give chefs for competing on the day?

1st of all double check you have everything for the day from equipment, ingredients, menu card, and of course your plate or plates your putting your food on. Just take your time if you’ve practiced and planned its all about following what has worked in your own kitchen, and don’t change what you’re doing once you’ve started

 

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