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08 Feb 2024

Salon Culinaire 2024: How can competitors prepare for this year's event?

Salon Culinaire 2024: How can competitors prepare for this year's event?

As chefs continue to prepare their entries for International Salon Culinaire 2024, part of Food, Drink & Hospitality Week, we catch up with some of this year's judges to find out more about their expectations and advice for competitors. Don't forget entries close on Friday 23 February, find out more at

How should competitors prepare for this year's event? 

Gary Kilminster, Chef and Business Development Manager, Essential Cuisine


"Practice, practice and practice. It is important the competitors plan their dishes well in advance and practice each element of the dish individually as well as doing complete run throughs prior to the day itself. Write prep lists and check, check and check again you have everything you need before travelling to ExCeL London."

Shona Sutherland, Owner, Taystful and Scottish Culinary Team


"Living and breathing an entry for days if not weeks is the way to make sure an exhibit or live competition is the best it can possibly be. Soak up advice, keep practicing and enjoy the process of developing your creation!"

Grahame Wickham, Head Chef, Guards Polo Club


"Ensure you have done timed run throughs. Make sure you have a time plan and you have done the right amount of Mise en Place. Don't stress, enjoy the moment and do what you do every day. Just cook some good food."

Peter Joyner, Food Development Director, Elior UK


"Planning in absolutely critical, for live classes make sure you practice and get feedback.  Remember friends and family will always say it’s great , even if there is room for improvement! So make sure you get critical feedback. Make sure everything tastes great. And remember the basics like hot food on hot plates and always check your seasoning! For cold displays make sure it tastes great, even though the judges won’t be tasting, they will know if the flavours and textures work well. Wear the right gear and look professional. Don’t be afraid to talk to the judges, they want you to do a good job and they don’t bite!"

Andy Ditchfield, Pastry Chef, House of Commons


"Competitors need to read the rules and criteria, this is what you will be judged against. Practice, Practice, Practice! On the live competitions, what ever time you have it in, it will go in a flash! So keep your timings!"

Connor Godfrey, Exec Sous Chef, Royal Garden Hotel


"Proper planning prevents a poor performance, spend the time making a plan and do your best to stick to it, include all the million ways things can go wrong in planning."

Find out more about everything happening as part of this year's competition at


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