Top chefs battle it out in Hospitality Awards

Chef of the Year nominee Dean Sowden - Deanos Graze and Grill (s)
Chef of the Year nominee Dean Sowden - Deanos Graze and Grill (s)

Harrogate chefs have been battling it out to win Chef of the Year title in the Harrogate Tourism and Hospitality awards.

Judges decided to change the selection criteria this year and visited each restaurant on the shortlist to taste each of the chefs signature dish,

Category sponsor Robert Sykes from Sykes House Farm – The Chefs Butcher and Stephanie Moon, local chef consultant tasted dishes cooked by the chefs shortlisted in this year’s awards.

The chefs were asked to produce a dish that they would happily offer up as their signature dish and explain how they prepared it and what inspired them. The chefs were also asked to put a selling price on the dish and ensure they considered the locality of produce, the creativity or simplicity of the dish, presentation, value for money and of course flavour and taste!

The culinary journey began at the Pavilions with chef Ian King of Kings Catering. A veteran of these awards and previous winner of the title Ian produced a rump of lamb on rosti potato with a red wine and redcurrant sauce, one of the most popular dishes with his clients.

Deanos Graze and Grill with Chef Dean Sowden was next. Dean served the most popular dishes as chosen by his followers on Facebook and Twitter – a goat’s cheese brulee, seabass bruschetta and posh pork pies & peas!

The judges then ‘rolled’ on to the next restaurant, reigning champion Darren Gladman at the Square Restaurant & Bar. Darren served a dish inspired by a visit to France but adapted it to use ingredients from Yorkshire. He prepared a drum of beef wrapped in pancetta served with a basque stew, tapenade mash, bacon crackling, chorizo, Roquefort and Harrogate blue.

Next it was a visit to the Majestic hotel and their head chef Mike Mallinson who produced a lamb dish using shoulder and neck of the finest Yorkshire lamb!

Last but by no means least the judges visited the Mirabelle restaurant and met Lionel Strub, Chef Patron. Lionel had cooked Bridlington Line caught seabass in a Whitby lobster bisque and sea spinach.

The awards, now in their sixth year, are organised and hosted by Destination Harrogate, the association of the leading hotels of the town.

David Ritson, Chairman of Destination Harrogate, and Simon Cotton, Vice Chairman of Destination Harrogate said, “We were really impressed by the creativity shown by all of the chefs today and the depth of tastes was amazing.

“The winner will be announced on the night but we would like to thank all the shortlisted chefs, Robert Smith and Stephanie Moon, our local ‘celebrity chef’ for their time today – the judges have a tough decision ahead!”.

Robert Smith said: “We are delighted to be involved with the awards and are proud to have supported this category since the beginning of the awards in 2008.

“We are very lucky to have so many amazing venues in the Harrogate area that serve extremely good food and we love to see the individual touches that such chefs put to their dishes.”

Stephanie Moon was thrilled to be involved and added “It is great to showcase the region’s top chefs with awards like this and I would like to congratulate all the chefs who we have met today for reaching the shortlist. The variety and quality of the ingredients used today reflect what a great region we have and shows that Yorkshire has plenty to be proud of!”.

If you would like to attend the awards on June 17 at the Royal Hall in Harrogate tickets are available through Debbie Dilasser Tel 01423 858585 costing £55 per person. Demand for tickets is already very high and usually sell out within weeks so please book early to avoid disappointment.