Chef of the Future Contest

Chef of the Future Meal 2014The Vegetarian Society's annual contest for chefs will be returning in 2016. Dates are to be confirmed, but until then why not read about what happened in last year's competition?

What Happened in Chef of the Future 2014
The 2014 title was claimed by Gavin Kellett, Head Chef at the Manor House, Godalming.

On hearing that he had won the coveted title Gavin said, “I’m really glad to get the opportunity to showcase my skills and demonstrate how creative, tasty and exciting vegetarian menus can be. I’m also happy that a lot of my ingredients were foraged and very much reflected my own style.”

Cordon Vert’s Principal Tutor Alex Connell said, “Congratulations to Gavin Kellett on winning the title Chef of the Future 2014. Gavin had clearly spent considerable time thinking through his menu. The presentation of the dishes was to the highest standard as was the flavour. Gavin typifies what the competition is all about showing that vegetarian food is delicious, interesting and imaginative.”

You can view exclusive photos from the day over on our Facebook page.

2014's Winning Menu
Gavin Kellett - Head Chef at the Manor House, Godalming.

  • Crispy hearts of palm, shiitake mushroom duxelles, aubergine chutney, pomegranate molasses caviar, broad beans, Brighton blue, red onion and crisp lotus root.
  • Nettles with asparagus and garlic stinging nettle pasta, white and green asparagus, roasted, wild and confit black garlic, liquid nettle spheres and home grown borage flowers.
  • Warm carrot cake, cream cheese sorbet, carrot three ways, raisin pulp, crystallised walnuts and rapeseed oil powder.

The final saw five contestants – Gavin Kellett from Godalming, Jonathon Tite from Sheffield, Olivia West from Oxford, Ryan Martin from Gleneagles and Sam Longthorn from Knutsford - battle it out to produce a three course vegetarian meal, plated for four people, within three hours.

The judging panel consisted of Alex Connell, Cordon Vert Principal Tutor, Damien Davenport owner Bistro 1847, Robert Higginson Chef of Cresta Court Hotel, Altrincham and Gary Ashley private chef and past Chef of the Future winner 2012 and 2013.

The finalists – menus and comments from judges.

Jonathan Tite - Chef at the Showroom, Sheffield
  • Wild mushroom consommé.
  • Baked fennel, pine nut and Lowna goat’s cheese filo shard, pickled baby fennel, tomato concasse and anise cream.
  • Aerated almond chocolate, cherry purée, praline and amaretto Chantilly.
“…a brilliantly presented main course… his sweet was a well masterminded plate,” said Robert.

Olivia West – ‘Home Cook’ category entry
  • Pad Thai noodle salad with smoked tofu, sweet chilli and coconut peanuts, and pickled ginger.#
  • Spiced creamy lentil dhal, mushroom rice, lemon saag, and ginger poppadums with a raw salad of onion, cucumber, tomato, carrot and coriander.
  • Sticky lemon almond sponge, raspberry and strawberry sorbet, bourbon zabaione, macerated strawberries, and salted almond brittle with fresh and freeze dried raspberries.
“…as an amateur chef she definitely proved her worth… her raspberry sorbet was sublime and made me smile as I tasted it,” said Gary.

Ryan Martin - Sous Chef at Duchally Country Estate, Gleneagles

  • Risotto of white onion, onion textures and Parmesan-style cheese foam.
  • Cannelloni of celeriac, honey roasted beetroot, wild mushrooms, Ayrshire bonnet and garden herbs.
  • Sticky toffee apple soufflé, apple purée, salted toffee and almond crumble.
“…the celeriac and beetroot main course was an excellent marriage of flavours.. I loved the abstract presentation,” said Gary.

Sam Longthorn - Chef at Cottons Hotel & Spa, Knutsford

  • Baked aubergine and Five Mile Town goat’s cheese paté, damson and raisin chutney, toasted brioche a ‘tete’.
  • Ramiro pepper and Inca tomato ‘chachouka’, baked egg, cauliflower three ways.
  • Elderflower and vanilla crème fraîche tart, textures of strawberries.
“…the dessert was fresh and seasonal it had great colours and was a real joy to finish the meal,” said Damien.
Chef of the Future Meal 2014

2014's finalists. From left to right - Olivia West, Jonathan Tite, Gavin Kellett, Ryan Martin and Sam Longthorn.

The contest produced some truly imaginative food as you can tell from their fantastic menus. You can also look at the previous year's finals from 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Gavin's Winning Menu

Starter - Crispy Hearts of Palm

Main Course - Nettle & Garlic Pasta

Dessert - Warm Carrot Cake

2014 Contest Information

Chef of the Future Contest Entry Form

Full Contest Rules


Previous Contest Info

2013 Finalists

2012 Finalists

2011 Finalists


Notes for editors
• For more press information please contact Su Taylor on 0161 925 2012 or 07973 108 165.
• For images of past winners, their menus or comments please contact the press office.
• A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish or crustacea, or the by-products of slaughter.
• Diary date: National Vegetarian Week 2014 is from 19-25 May, contact Su for a press pack.
• The winner of the award will receive a fully funded place on the Cordon Vert Professional Diploma training week (worth in excess of £1,600)
The Cordon Vert Vegetarian Cookery School
The Vegetarian Society
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