Keele chefs crowned at national catering competition

Keele University caterers are celebrating after winning two awards at The University Catering Organisation (TUCO) competition recently.

The TUCO Competition 2018 sees chefs and front of house professionals from universities and colleges across the UK compete against each other to win coveted trophies. The 25th silver anniversary TUCO competitions took place at the University of Warwick in front of 400 industry heavyweights this month.

Kim Barnish, sous chef at Keele University, won gold in the Campus Speed Cook challenge. Competing against 12 other universities on the main stage Kim made a marinated char-grilled chicken with fregola salad with flatbreads and dips.

Kim said: “I have entered other competitions at TUCO before so it felt quite relaxed, I just knew that I had to concentrate and try my best, because there was a lot of good universities entering. I literally couldn’t believe that I won gold, I was over the moon, I have not competed in a while so to win gold was just amazing for me and the University.”

allan and james 200 Keele Hall’s Head Chef Allan Jones and Chef James Jefferies won silver in the Chefs’ Challenge with their three course meal. For the starter Allan and James made tartare and scotch egg of trout with a watercress emulsion, for main, breast of duck with a pastilla of duck leg, pickled and fondant of turnip, wild garlic and apricot jus, and for dessert, bitter chocolate ganache coated in hazelnut and cornflake crust, passion fruit jelly and coconut sorbet.

James said: “We went into the competition with a great deal of confidence in our dishes, after putting a lot of training in beforehand. We enjoy competing against the other universities and the standards are always really high. We are ecstatic with our silver award, it’s the first time Keele has placed this highly in the Chefs’ Challenge, the competition standard was very high and we were only a few points off gold.”