Coventry- and Warwickshire-based Warwick Conferences found success to be twice as nice at the weekend when two members of its catering team were awarded recognition at a highly competitive industry contest.
The CCE Chefs’ Challenge is a competition run by Conference Centres of Excellence to find the best of the chefs in the UK conferencing industry. Ryan Dare and Natalja Saveljeva—from Warwick Conferences’ Ninety One restaurant at the Scarman venue—both brought home awards on the night of the final, which took place on Saturday 9th November at Stratford-upon-Avon College.
This year marked the 15th annual CCE Chefs’ Challenge and brought together 12 outstanding chefs to battle it out in the race to become 2013’s culinary champion.
The final saw the top 12 put their skills to the test to produce a three-course fine dining menu in accordance with certain criteria. This year, the dishes served needed to be suitable for an end-of-conference dinner for a large group, and beef was required to be served as the main.
After careful consideration, Ryan was announced as the joint winner of the Bronze Chefs’ Challenge award for his menu. He comments: “I’m honoured to have been awarded joint Bronze in the CCE Chefs’ Challenge. It’s a competition which sets out to recognise and reward the best in the industry, so I’m absolutely thrilled that my menu seemed to impress the judges.”
Natalja, who supported Ryan in the competition, picked up the Best Food Service Skills award. She was tasked with preparing, serving and clearing a table for two people, suggesting appropriate wines to match Ryan’s menu, while demonstrating food service techniques and excellent customer service.
Natalja adds: “I’m over the moon to have been awarded the Best Food Service Skills award in this year’s challenge. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the opportunity to compete in the company of such a talented group.”
Alan Robinson, Director at Warwick Conferences, also comments: “We are absolutely delighted with Ryan and Natalja’s success at this year’s CCE Chefs’ Challenge. They are both very skilled at what they do and are a credit to Warwick Conferences.
“It’s a real achievement to have been recognised by such a prestigious judging panel, especially considering that this was their first national competition, and we couldn’t be more proud. I have no doubt that they’ll continue to impress in the future.”
Conference Centres of Excellence is the leading national consortium of specialist conferencing venues. Its annual CCE Chefs’ Challenge has proved to be a stepping stone for young chefs to go on to higher profile competitions nationwide and is endorsed by the British Culinary Federation. Each chef receives a certificate and one year’s free membership to the BCF.
The awards dinner took place at Woodland Grange Conference centre in Leamington Spa and was attended by 110 guests from CCE member centres, including a number of the conference industry’s leading figures.