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Simon Webb Wins BCF Chef of the Year

Simon Webb with Hugh Judd Eblex (left) and Russell Allen

Simon Webb, Head Chef at Restaurant Associates, Merrill Lynch restaurant in London has been crowned 2012 British Culinary Federation Chef of the Year following the live final held at Hotelympia in London this week.

Simon joins an elite group of past winners which includes Simon Hulstone, Richard Turner and Adam Bennett.

Sponsored by EBLEX and Aubrey Allen, this year’s winner received the award from Russell Allen and Hugh Judd of Eblex, together with a cheque for £2,500.

Simon impressed the celebrity line-up of top judges with his culinary talents which included Raymond Blanc (Le Manoir Aux Quat’ Saisons), Alain Roux (The Waterside Inn), Ashley Palmer-Watts (Fat Duck & Dinner by Heston Blumenthal), Roger Narbett (MOGB and Chairman of Judges), Matt Cheal (Simpsons Restaurant) and Idris Caldora (Academy of Culinary Arts).

Commenting Roger Narbett, MOGB said: “Simon stood out by demonstrating great cooking skills and he produced food to a very high order”.

Simon Webb was one of ten leading UK chefs to reach the live final cook off, which was compered under the watchful eye of TV celebrity chef, Brian Turner. This followed an intense semi-final cook off in January and this year’s competition was taken to a new skills level, which involved finalists attending a ‘Masterclass’ here in Coventry. The showcase experience enabled the chefs to enhance their butchery skills and learn more about prepare inspiring and innovative cuts of meat in preparation of the final judging event at Hotelympia.

All ten chefs were tasked with producing a three course meal for two for the live final, which centred on using the Cap/Picanha muscle of Aubrey’s Dry Aged Beef, which they had to prepare and butcher themselves for the main dish.

Simon’s winning menu was Flame Grilled Cornish Mackerel, Salt Baked Beetroots, Pickled Radish, Crab and Coastal Leaves followed by Slow Cooked Rump Cap of Suckler Beef, Smoked Parsnip, Buckwheat, Blue Cheese and Bone Marrow with Heritage Apple and Honey Cake, Brown Butter, Spiced Raisins and Cider for dessert.

Commenting, Peter Griffiths, President of the British Culinary Federation and Salon Director of Hotelympia, said: “The competition which is open to all chefs provides a fantastic opportunity for both new and established professionals to showcase their cutting-edge creativity and be recognised for their talent and culinary skills using the best of British home produced food.

“We have an outstanding winner in Simon Webb this year, who undoubtedly will be a name to watch in the future and go on to reach new culinary heights”, he said.

Filled with excitement following his success, Simon said: “Taking part in the BCF Chef of the Year competition is the highlight of my career to date. I look forward to working with Aubrey Allen and making the most of opportunities that arise as a result of winning this award”.

The other finalists were: 

1. Michael Tweedie, Lucknam Park Hotel, Bath
2. Byron Franklin, Pembroke College, Cambridge
3. Sheldon Fonseca, The Dorchester Hotel, London
4. Raymond Thomson, Stirling Management Centre, Scotland
5. Carlos Martinez, Cliveden House, Taplow
6. Colin Layfield, Paramount Restaurant, London who came third
7. Adam Simmonds, Danesfield House Hotel, Marlow
8. Adam Smith, The Ritz Hotel, London who came second
9. Dez Turland, Saunton Sands Hotel, Devon

See for yourself … Aubrey Allen’s Master Butcher, Bob Spring bones out the rump of beef at: http://bit.ly/ydxWwo

For further information: www.eblex.org.uk