The finalists for chef competition Olive It! have been announced.
The competition is backed by the European Union and Olives of Spain, in partnership with Spanish chef Omar Allibhoy (pictured) of Tapas Revolution in London, and Caterer and Hotelkeeper. Olive It! aims to encourage the next generation of chefs to experiment with olives and appreciate their health and taste benefits. The competition is open to full or part-time hospitality and catering students.
The finalists will now go on to cook their menus for the judges and VIP guests at a live final on Tuesday 3 June at the Central Street Cookery School in London.
Chosen for their creative four-course menus with green or black olives in every course and as one of the principal ingredients, the students will now compete for the top prize, an all-inclusive gastronomic weekend for two to visit the olive harvest in Spain, worth £4,000, plus £400 of chef's professional equipment of their choice and a week's placement at Tapas Revolution.
Judge José Souto, chef lecturer at Westminster Kingsway College, said: "The calibre of entries for the competition has been incredible, with a substantial number of entries from all over the UK. One of the most surprising things has been the ingenuity and thought that competitors have put into their recipes. Many have come away from the traditional way in which we use olives and given the product a whole new dimension by using olives as an integral part of each dish.
Allibhoy, a 2012 Acorn Award winner, explained: "Our challengers will now get the opportunity to actually present their menus to a room full of guests as well as the judges. It will test them to their limits but also give them the chance to build their confidence and develop new skills.
"We look forward to meeting them all at the final dinner."
The finalists are:
Jordan Stanley, Buxton & Leek College
Charlotte Killas-Riding, Bury College
Jo Start, Cambridge Regional College
Georgia Claxton, Boston College
Samuel Jordan, College of West Anglia
Lisa McNally, York College
Aston Knight, Accrington and Rossendale College
Jessica Newbold, Boston College