215 days ago
Defence & Government Services employees shone at the 2018 Salon Culinaire competition, topping the medal table with 171 awards in total. The segment also boasted both the overall best in show winner, chef Elaine Morris (pictured), and the apprentice chef of the year, Patricia Gora.
Corporate Services and Schools teams also performed brilliantly, with over 60 medals each to their credit.
This year’s competition was held as part of Sodexo Live, a full programme of events designed to celebrate employees, clients, customers and suppliers. Over 400 employees entered a range of live cooking classes and static categories, with 40 judges, both internal and external, assessing the entries on the day.
Chef Elaine Morris, from Battlesbury Barracks Junior Ranks Dining Centre in Wiltshire, stunned the judges with her two entries in the sugar floral display category, and was named as overall best in show winner. Elaine is no stranger to Salon, having entered many times before in the 11 years she’s been with Sodexo. “My first ever entry was in the tray bake category and I’ve improved my skills and the quality of my entries every time, so I’m thrilled to win.”
This year, she spent months perfecting her two flower vases. “I started in January”, says Elaine. “I kept everything a closely guarded secret while I was working on them as I wanted a big reveal!”
Elaine helps to provide meals for more than 300 military personnel every day. Her talent for intricate sugar work seems to come naturally. “I’m self- taught, but pastry has always been my strength,” she says. She took two gold medals, one best in class in the category and the overall best in show title.
Sodexo’s next generation of chefs also had the chance to showcase their cooking talents, with 24-year-old apprentice chef Patricia Gora, from Bhurtpore Barracks, taking gold and best in class in both the lemon sole filleting and cutting chicken for sauté categories. She was also named as apprentice chef of the year.
Patricia joined the Sodexo team at the barracks in April 2017, originally working front of house. “There was an opportunity to get onto a chef apprentice scheme and I wanted to try something different,’ she explains.
She has now been an apprentice chef for just one year and, if this strong start is anything to go by, she’s due to go far. “I’m training with HIT training, who visit me on site, and I attend chef academies every two months which I find really interesting. It’s a great way to enhance your skills and learn new recipes and processes.”
Salon Culinaire competitions were also held in Scotland and Ireland in the run up to Sodexo Live. The overall best in show for Scotland was Samantha Woodhouse from the Scottish Government contract, who excelled in the cupcake category. Nicholas Reid, executive head chef at Almac, Craigavon, retained his Chef of the Year Ireland title with a silver and best in class.
See more coverage of the Ireland event here.
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