MasterChef Professional 2013 runner-up Adam Handling, has been crowned 2014 British Culinary Federation Chef of the Year at an awards dinner held at University College Birmingham last night.
As the 14th winner of the competition, Handling joins an elite group of past winners and Michelin-starred chefs which includes Simon Hulstone, Luke Tipping, Richard Turner and Bocuse d'Or candidate Adam Bennett.
Handling, from St Ermin's Hotel, London and former Acorn award winner impressed the judges with his culinary talents.
Judges included Alain Roux, The Waterside Inn; Ashley Palmer-Watts, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal; Roger Narbett MCA, Chairman of Judges; Simon Hulstone, The Elephant Restaurant, Torquay; 2012 winner Simon Webb, CH&Co, London; Laurent Bouvier, President, Les Toques Blanches Lyonnaises and Fréderic Berthod of Les Toques Blanches Lyonnaises.
Alain Roux commented that many of the chefs had taken risks and challenged themselves but only a few had mastered the techniques and flavour. "Adam mastered the cooking, seasoning and flavour of the lamb. His seasonality of ingredients and the balance of flavour made him a clear winner."
Ashley Palmer-Watts added: "Out of the 10 chefs, three stood out as the best cooks. Adam's menu was a clear winner with two standout dishes."
The 10 finalists were tasked with producing a three-course meal for two covers which centred on using two different cuts of lamb which they had chosen from the butchery competition.
Handlings's menu comprised salmon, pea, dill, apple, followed by lamb, cauliflower, pickled Savoy, rice puff and a dessert of chocolate, caramel, orange.
Runner-up was Byron Franklin from Clare College, Cambridge (below left) and third was Nick Evans from Middlethorpe Hall, York (below right).
Competition organiser and BCF President Peter Griffiths said: "With the butchery element and the opportunity to join the National Team, this competition continues to attract some of the industry's best. The standards we have seen this year have been a credit to all concerned."
FINALISTS Adam Handling, St Ermin's Hotel, London
Byron Franklin - Clare College, Cambridge
Carlos Martinez - The Stafford Kempinski, London
Dez Turland - Saunton Sands Hotel, Devon
James Buckley - The Genuine Dining Co
Keiron Stevens - Michael Wignall at The Latymer, Pennyhill Park
Keith Hooker - Restaurant Associates, Compass Group, London
Mathew Shropshall - University College Birmingham
Nick Evans - Middlethorpe Hall, York
The competition followed a celebratory lunch at Pure Bar & Kitchen to commemorate the re-signing of a Certificate of Agreement between the British Culinary Federation and Les Toques Blanches Lyonnaises which took place in the Lord Mayor's Parlour, Birmingham Council House. The agreement is a working relationship and further strengthens the links between both organisations in the twinned cities of Birmingham and Lyon.