Sodexo Chef of the Year 2019

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The 2019 Sodexo Chef of the Year competition reached its climax on 22 January at the Foodservice Show in Birmingham where the eight finalists battled for the prestigious title in a live cook off.

Senior sous chef Andy Voice, from Independents by Sodexo at Dorney Lake, Eton, made waves at the NEC Birmingham live stage with his gold ‘best in class’ menu. Andy has shown off his skills in previous competitions winning gold, ‘best in class’ and ‘best in show’ at competitions including La Parade des Chefs at last year’s Hotelympia and Sodexo’s own salon culinaire competition.

Each of the finalists was challenged with serving a three-course menu that would wow the select panel of judges which included current National Chef of the Year Kuba Winkowski, Michelin starred Adam Smith, Leathams executive development chef Perry Huntley, TV star Brian Turner OBE and the Craft Guild of Chefs chairman Andrew Bennett MBE.

Andy impressed the judges with his technique and delicious menu of savoury carrot cake to start, loin and neck of lamb with celeriac and crosnes as the main course followed by a blood orange soufflé for dessert.


Pictured: Andy Voice participating at Sodexo Chef of the Year

In the lead up to the final, the finalists competed in individual heats as well as participating in workshops and a mentor day hosted by Sodexo client and event sponsor Unilever.

Andy had practiced lots for the event and used the feedback he got at the mentor day to help develop his dishes, “My dessert completely changed from the mentor day onwards. We were playing with the idea of doing a soufflé before the mentor day but we were only going to do the soufflé if there was a dedicated oven. Trying to do a soufflé in ovens where they are opening and closing is an impossible challenge!”

Andy has big hopes for the future and would like to continue developing his skills further, “As a chef, I always feel like I can improve, even if I put up a perfect dish, I look at it and think I could change it slightly. I’m never 100% satisfied with a dish - we’re always looking for perfection.”

Fellow competitor David Humphreys, development technologist for Tillery Valley Foods, was awarded runner up by the judges with an additional gold award. On the day, his passion for food really shone through, “I just love food - I love cooking it, love eating it, just love it! I want to be producing good food for everyone, regardless of whether it’s for the NHS or a fine dining restaurant.”


Pictured: David Humphreys participating at Sodexo Chef of the Year

As the only female chef in this year’s final, chef de partie Orsolya Kemendy from University College London wants more women chefs to step into the kitchen and compete in the big leagues, “The foodservice industry is very male orientated. We need to encourage more women into senior and top chef positions.”

Orsolya was one of five finalists who walked away with a bronze award for their menu. As recognition for their efforts, all eight finalists received a personalised chef jacket and a year’s subscription to the Craft Guild of Chefs.

Andy was presented with a winner’s plate from Churchill China and will participate in a gastronomic UK study trip including farm visits and a culinary experience featuring the best of British fine dining experiences courtesy of long-term sponsor of the competition, Leathams.

Congratulations to Andy and well done all the finalists for creating some amazing dishes!

You can find out more about Andy’s culinary career on his Sodexo blog - click here.

Join the conversation on social media by using the hashtag #SodexoChef19. Show your support for Andy, have your say and promote the fantastic talent at Sodexo!

Are you the next Sodexo Chef of the Year?

Visit Sodexo Jobs for more information on how you can start your culinary career with Sodexo.

Sodexo Chef of the Year 2019 finalists

  • Andy Voice - Dorney Lake, Independents by Sodexo, Sodexo Schools & Universities - gold ‘best in class’
  • David Humphreys - Tillery Valley Foods, Sodexo Healthcare - gold
  • Dennis McCarroll - Ulster Independent Clinic, Ireland, Sodexo Corporate Services - silver
  • Darren Kelly - Rotherham FC, Centerplate, Sodexo Sports & Leisure - bronze
  • Andy Clarkson - Aliwal Barrack JRDC, Sodexo Defence & Government Services - bronze
  • Orsolya Kemendy - University College London, Sodexo Universities - bronze
  • Sergejs Sobolevs - Sodexo head office, London, Sodexo Corporate Services - bronze
  • Angus Pauline - Viewforth House, Scotland, Sodexo Sports & Leisure - bronze

Sodexo Chef of the Year 2019 judges

  • Steve Scuffell - chair of judges for Foodservice Show salon culinaire
  • Perry Huntley - starter
  • Andrew Bennett MBE - starter
  • Adam Smith - main course
  • Kuba Winkowski - main course
  • Brian Turner OBE - main course
  • Julie Walsh - dessert
  • Ross Sneddon - dessert
  • Keith Burton - technical

Sodexo Chef of the Year 2019 sponsors

  • Churchill China
  • Unilever Food Solutions
  • Leathams
  • The Craft Guild of Chefs

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