Salon Culinaire An Audience with PAUL RANKIN Sumptuous STREET FOOD
The Young Generation
David Mulcahy 4
Barista Challenge 5 Challenges
12 Will Torrent 14 Street Food 15 Tom Allen
The Schools 7
16 Static Displays
Peter Taylor 8
18 Alyn Williams
Young Chef 9
20 Matt Dawson 21 Thank You
Paul Rankin 10
Welcome I am delighted to welcome you to this exciting magazine issue that captures the very best of Sodexo Salon Culinaire 2013.
alon Culinaire is the most extensive culinary competition at Sodexo. It is where practised chefs are put to the test in front of a live audience; younger chefs get their first competition experience; and keen bakers and amateur chefs from across Sodexo can enter one of the 18 static classes. This year saw over 650 Sodexo employees bringing their gourmet techniques to the table at Ascot Racecourse. As well as the culinary talent on display, this year’s attendees also enjoyed a variety of street food from the likes of Swanky Franks and the Levi Roots bus, and live cooking demonstrations from much-loved chef Paul Rankin, Michelin-starred Alyn Williams and chocolate extraordinaire Will Torrent. With almost 50 supplier exhibitors present at the event, and tastings and innovative ideas on offer, Salon Culinaire was another huge success, with lots of employees coming along to support their segments and get fresh ideas to take back to their units. Also present this year, for the third year running, were my team of students from Southampton Solent University. We all put our journalistic, filming and social media skills to the test, shadowing Sodexo’s PR team, interviewing participants and tweeting about the day’s activities. Salon Culinaire this year has again demonstrated the talent and passion Sodexo has in all areas of the business and we congratulate everyone who took part.
Thank you, from the team and myself, Isabel Nash, Editor
David Mulcahy is a key figure within Sodexo. As craft and food development director, the extent of his role is vast and Salon Culinaire is a project that David heads up annually. Passionate about food trends and chef development, we find out more about this gourmet guru. By Isabel Nash
oday we are at Ascot Racecourse for Sodexo’s Salon Culinaire. It’s the premier showcase of culinary talent across our company. We’ve got about 650 entries, it’s a lot of people entering a lot of classes and essentially it’s drawing attention to the talent that exists within Sodexo.” From molecular gastronomy to Michelin star cooking, David Mulcahy is a connoisseur with a lot of experience. He was recently awarded with, what some people are calling a ‘lifetime achievement award’, which he modestly accepted: “It was the Foodservice Catey Award, which was for Services to the Industry over a long period of time. It was lovely to get it. It was fantastic.” Salon Culinaire has been run by David for many years and competitions are a huge part of what makes the event so different to other hospitality experiences, and who better to head off the judging than David himself. With many years of training and competitions under his belt, his is the best advice any young chef in training could get: “I’ve come through the ranks working in restaurants and hotels; I used to compete internationally at the culinary world cup, the culinary Olympics and things like that. I’ve cut my teeth in different ways over the years and what I started to do years ago is say ‘how do we give something back?’ How do we help people reach their goals and maybe give them some dreams of their own?” At this stage, David’s aspirations are
“It’s an innate thing that the human race should do more of and it’s important.”
focused on the younger generation. Training chefs is something he is extremely passionate about and Salon Culinaire every year gives him, and other mentors, the opportunity to see where more work needs to be done: “The people who compete have been trained throughout the year, so they come here to show what they’ve done, and their capabilities and hopefully they show some innovation and some style of their own as well,” David explains. “In some cases they may have never competed before and we can see where the training needs are. As it’s a showcase, it’s a window to see what we need to do and what we’re good at doing.” Through Salon Culinaire and through competition, David hopes to achieve great things within Sodexo: “That’s really what drives me. I have trained many chefs and created culinary teams and developed groups of people so they now either compete, or are chefs in their own right and it’s nice to come across them every now and again.” It is obvious to anyone who meets David Mulcahy that he is incredibly ardent about this industry, but to him it’s about something much bigger: “There’s something very satisfying, something very important about taking people and, not just training them to cook, but sitting around a table with people, with good food, good conversation and all of that. It’s kind of an innate thing that the human race should do more of and it’s important.”
THE BARISTA CHALLENGE
Last years Salon Culinaire hosted the first Barista Challenge but the 2013 competitors definitely raised the coffee bar.
huge number of Sodexo employees applied to take part in the contest, however only ten made it through to the final round. The contestants were judged on their customer service skills as well as their development, barista ability and passion for coffee. The ten finalists were required to serve the guests hot drinks to be judged on their service and skills. They then had to make two espressos, two cappuccinos, and two of their own speciality drinks which were scrutinised by the judges. The contestants also took part in what was called the ‘cupping contest’, which required them to recognise different coffees within a batch presented to them. A point score system was used within all aspects of the competition. Sue Sumerfeild, marketing retail manager for Sodexo, was in charge of judging the customer service standards. She said: “I’m looking for good interaction with the customers and how they greet them and if at the end of the transaction they say thank-you and goodbye. I am also looking at the technical side of things and seeing
if they produce a good drink. I understand the coffee machine can be a barrier, so it can be difficult to interact with the customers. I am looking to make sure that the contestants don’t look nervous or uncomfortable throughout. They also need to be able to manage a queue, to ensure the customers don’t feel they are waiting and wonder what is happening.” The Barista Challenge was sponsored by Costa Coffee and United coffee. Representatives from each company attended, judging the production of the coffee. All candidates of the competition met excellent standards and the effort put into the challenge on the day was exceptional. The overall winner of the 2013 Barista Challenge was Malgorzata (Maggie) Lach, who is the head barista at Aviva, Dublin. Natasha Catro Clark, a Co-Op supervisor was awarded second place. The Barista Challenge is a great opportunity for Sodexo employees as it gives them a chance to see what can be produced. It is something the employees can look forward to and work towards.
“I am also looking at the technical side of things and seeing if they produce a good drink.”
OMELETTE CHALLENGE T
his year once again saw professionals and novices compete in the Omelette Challenge. The challenge was set with all competitors having to prep their fresh eggs by whisking and then pouring them into a pre-heated pan, all the while making sure they didn’t turn into a scrambled mess. Some found it easier than others with record times coming in as fast as 11 seconds! The final factor wasn’t just in how the eggs looked but whether or not they tasted just right. Participants came in all forms from visitors of the show to the professionals. One competitor was even spotted completing the challenge one handed due to an injury. Unfortunately for her, even with help from the judges, 26 seconds was nowhere near quick enough to beat the likes of Paul Rankin and Tom Allen who also tried their hand at this eggy quick draw.
CUPCAKE COUNTDOWN T
he cupcake challenge involved a row of volunteers who had to decorate a cupcake in a limited amount of time. It was a very messy, but very fun opportunity for the participants to decorate and put their own style on a tasty snack. Marling School student Owen Francis came second in the event saying: “Apparently I would’ve won if I stopped throwing things at the cupcakes, it was quite interesting.” Due to the fierce competition you may have got your hands a bit dirty but whether you were a winner or loser, you got to keep and eat your creations at the end of it. So it turned out that everyone was a winner!
CHEFS IN THE MAKING
his event wasn’t just to engage current partners in the industry happy. This event also arranged for schoolchildren to visit and develop their own skills in the catering industry and give them access as to what the catering industry is like at a professional level. Students from Marling School in Stroud particularly enjoyed themselves, pupil Adam Cox said: “There’s a lot to do here, it’s been great. It’s a very interesting industry and something that would be interesting to go into.” His classmate Owen Francis was fond of the complimentary food that was on offer throughout the day: “There is so much free food to try!” The students also expressed how much they enjoyed the Cupcake Challenge. Their teacher Paula Colley also praised the event: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for the boys and an activity we couldn’t afford in a school situation. It was very professional, fantastic instructions and a lovely ambience.” Sodexo’s strategic development director, Peter Taylor believes that education is a highly important factor in the catering industry and also believes that Salon Culinaire is vital to
any budding chef or caterer of the future in gaining an understanding of how the industry works. He said: “The idea of [the school students] being here is that we can show them what they can achieve if they’ve got an interest in the industry. Then from there they can say whether they like it and, if it’s something they would like to achieve.” This was echoed by students from the Forest School in Horsham, pupil Henry Purser spoke about his aspirations in the industry and how much he enjoyed the day: “I enjoyed the Reggae Reggae Sauce stand and when I leave school I’d like to be a chef and run my own Italian restaurant.” His classmate Sam Bowler also gained enjoyment, knowledge and experience from talking to Will Torrent, who was there demonstrating his chocolatier craft. Their teacher David Nibloe was pleased with the skills that his pupils could take from Salon Culinaire: “The quality of the food was fantastic, the live demonstrations were also very important for the children to watch and develop from. The Q and A with Paul Rankin was also very helpful to them.”
PETER TAYLOR: CATERING FOR THE FUTURE
For over 45 years, Sodexo has been working with clients in the education market to provide students with the brain food that enables them to learn.
alon Culinaire, which is an annual event held at Ascot Racecourse, is a fantastic opportunity for hosting a huge variety of areas within the catering industry. Peter Taylor is the strategic development director for Sodexo Education. His role is looking at all the things that are outside the normal operation area. It’s about new business, new developments, and engagements with clients and with the students that Sodexo looks after. He said: “The idea is that we get more and more engaged with students and universities and to get businesses closer to the university market to aid the transition from learning, to work. “We can then guide them in how to
go about training through colleges, university degrees or going straight into the industry and working up.” Sodexo operates in about 25 different campuses around the UK, and present different types of engagement with students. Offering internships, and stakeholder opportunities for students to come and work within the Sodexo organisation. More recently, Sodexo has created long-term work for students with an interest in law and in procurement. “It’s certainly something we want to encourage and to develop. It’s also something that, where it works, it works extremely well for both parties. Our difficulty, perhaps, is that a lot of universities have got large courses in topics that we don’t have real
experience in. So it’s about ensuring that there’s a true match between what we’re doing and what the students are wanting to learn about.” Salon Culinaire is a great opportunity for groups of students to come and work with Sodexo, doing event work and expanding skills in camera work, journalism and photography. It’s a gathering of anybody who has any real interest in food to come and be able to either demonstrate their skills or to learn about what other people are doing. It’s very competitive and of a very high standard, the judging is done by the international standard of culinary judging. It’s a really good way of getting work experience as it has an almost public approach.
YOUNG CHEF OF THE YEAR Sodexo’s Young Chef of the Year competition is an ambitious title that many young chefs aspire to hold, and this year’s entries saw some exceptional skill and flare.
he competition is open to all Sodexo chefs under the age of 24. The final round saw 6 young chefs go head to head, creating their own two-course menu. With a main course of venison and a chocolate dessert, the chefs had a lot of scope to develop their own ideas, show their techniques and display their imaginative flavour combinations. Judge, Dan Pennington said: “We are looking to see how well the chefs use complimentary flavours in their dishes. They have to create their own individual menu so we will be judging that too, as well as their techniques and knife skills.”
This year’s winner was 20 year old, Rich Bullard, who is currently a chef at the Chivenor Marine Barracks in Devon. HOW LONG HAVE YOU WANTED TO BECOME A CHEF? Probably since I was 15. I was washing dishes in a pub in Croyde and I got interested in what the chefs were doing, so that’s when it started really. Then I did an NVQ in professional cookery at Exeter College and went from there. WHY DID YOU ENTER THE YOUNG CHEF OF THE YEAR COMPETITION? My head chef said it would be a good idea to enter and I was pretty confident that I could do it. WHAT DID YOU HAVE TO MAKE? We had to make a main course of venison and then a chocolate dessert. We had to come up with our own menu and flavour combinations. WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR YOU TO WIN THIS COMPETITION? I always wanted to enter competitions but I’ve never had the chance. To be honest I didn’t expect to win, so it worked out pretty well. WHAT SORT OF WORK WAS INVOLVED? DID YOU HAVE TO DO MUCH PREPARATION? I was practising 10 hours a day but I had a lot of encouragement from my head chef and other chefs from the Barracks WHAT ASPIRATIONS DO YOU HAVE FOR THE FUTURE? To go back to Salon Culinaire and win again next year! I would really like to travel and eventually open my own restaurant in London. We congratulate Richard again on his win and wish him the best of luck in the future.
Paul Rankin is one of the UK and Irelands most celebrated chefs and now he is passing on his tips of the trade as one of Sodexo’s ambassadors. Here, we talk restaurants, signature dishes and most intriguingly, hurdling Suzi King investigates...
n 1989 Paul Rankin changed the face of culinary Northern Ireland when he opened Roscoff, the restaurant that was to become the first to win a Michelin Star in the country. However this chef ’s interest in the culinary world has been present for much longer than we knew. He explained: “I ended up working as a waiter to earn money whilst I was traveling, and I kind of fell in love with the restaurant industry.” He continued to reminisce about his early experiences with the culinary world and how falling in love with food meant early mornings and going in early to help chefs peel walnuts and skin fish. All this extra experience led him to realise that working in a kitchen was the right job for him: “I wrote a very passionate letter to Albert Roux telling him I wanted to be a chef and dedicate my life to food and he gave me a job as a dishwasher. And it went from there really.” It is obvious just listening to
Paul that for him, the world revolves around food. As an ambassador for Sodexo, part of his role involves mentoring young people who may be considering a career in the kitchen and helping them to gain an insight into the food industry. The famous Irishman has been a part of the Sodexo family for over 15 years; starting out conducting masterclasses for the young chefs. Paul has since had a hands on approach with his role in Sodexo’s education sector. “One day I could be opening a new dining hall, another I might be talking to the kids about what it’s like to be a chef,” explains Paul. “I work with the 6th formers interested
in careers in hospitality. I have also done a few dinners with Sodexo based around the schools and universities. It’s a great experience for the school kids but it’s even better for the Sodexo chefs in the kitchen, where they get to work side-by-side with me and get that, sort of, inspired involvement.” He explained why it’s so important for young people to get involved in the industry at an early age: “As a teenager coming out of school, you haven’t seen that much of the work environment. So in exposing them to the razzmatazz of our industry, we are trying to get them excited about it and think, ‘yes I want to do that’. We know they’ll also be looking at other careers, so it’s important for us to expose them to what we do and our passion for what we do.” I had to wonder; did he prefer his role as an ambassador to working in his restaurant or appearing on TV? “They’re both important
“I wrote a very passionate letter to Albert Roux telling him I wanted to be a chef and dedicate my life to food and he gave me a job as a dishwasher. And it went from there really.” 10
“They’re both important and they’re both nice, I couldn’t work at these type of events all the time, for me there has to be some kind of creative outlet, although I do get an awful lot out of mentoring the kids.” Part of his role as an ambassador for Sodexo is to promote healthy eating and inform young people of how important it is to follow a nutritionally balanced diet. And of course when you think of healthy eating you think of healthy lifestyle. This lead to us talking about how Paul was once a hurdler and how food and sports go hand in hand with each other.
“I was sports mad when I was at school, I was a first 15 rugby player, I was a hurdler, I was a sprinter. I would have loved to have gone into sports but I wasn’t quite that good. I do have a strong interest in the link between food, nutrition and athletics.” Paul sang praise for his love of good wholesome foods. His three key ingredients? “Potatoes, potatoes, potatoes!” One of his favourite dishes to cook at home that would be a definite no when it comes to plating up in the restaurant: “My favourite thing at the moment is good boiled potatoes
in their skins, then I lightly crush them and add some olive oil and a little but of chopped onion. Then a little bit of mayo tinned tuna and a bit of veg. I love it and its nice and healthy.” Paul ended with a few words of wisdom to pass on to the next generation of chefs: “Find the best chef you possibly can whose style you respect, a chef who still works in the kitchen and isn’t a figure head and see if you can get some work experience with them. Work for free if you have to but above all, work hard. The harder you work, the luckier you get.”
THE SWEETER THINGS IN LIFE Pastry chef and chocolatier extraordinaire Will Torrent, kept onlookers salivating with awe as he whipped up delicious chocolate tarts on the demonstration stage at Salon Culinaire. We caught up with him to find out why he loves food so much and why chocolate was for him. By Suzi King 12
“My next plan is to take over the world through cake and chocolate.” HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH SODEXO AND SALON CULINAIRE? I’ve been working with David Mulcahy, craft and food development director on the national chef of the year competition, so I did a restaurant show last week. Today was a chance to come and inspire people from Sodexo to use and understand different chocolates, from different origins and try something a bit different. APART FROM YOUR DEMONSTRATION, WHAT ELSE ARE YOU DOING TODAY? I’m really excited to be able to look around and see the amazing work on the static classes and also supporting the Callebaut team downstairs at their chocolate stand. WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO AT THE EVENT? I think my favourite part is going to be the street food area outside; I’m starving so I’m ready to eat and want to try out some new foods. APART FROM YOUR WORK WITH SODEXO, WHAT ELSE ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT? I’m working on my second book, Chocolate at Home, which will be released next autumn. It’s all about taking the dark art of chocolate making accessible for people at home. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO WORK WITH CHOCOLATE AND PASTRIES INSTEAD OF BECOMING SOMETHING LIKE A BUTCHER? It’s because when I was training at the University of West London, I’d be in normal whites, come home from a day of butchery with a blood stained apron and the next I’d come home with fish guts and scales everywhere and then of course one day I came home with an apron full of chocolate, sugar and flour. My mum liked that more than the blood and the guts and I just always had a sweet tooth so it felt right really.
OBVIOUSLY YOU LOVE SWEET FOOD BUT WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SAVOURY DISH? It would have to be, even though it sounds really cliché, but a really good roast dinner. None of this beef or lamb, just a proper roast chicken, good roast potatoes, parsnips, carrots… Lovely. WHAT WAS IT LIKE WORKING WITH HESTON BLUMENTHAL? DOES HE SUPPORT HIS STEREOTYPE? I wouldn’t say he’s crazy, he’s just an inspiring man, and he’s an amazing chef. He set me on my path at 15 to go on to do what I do now, to be a perfectionist and to always push myself, but also to have fun with food and be nostalgic about it. So, when I make a dessert or write for the book I always think, what did I love as a kid? We’re recreating my Nan’s chocolate fudge cake. She used lard, margarine and butter, now it’s just the butter. Those classics bring you nostalgia. As a chef I can give the clients or customers something that they remember as well. Whether that’s the flavour of a Caramac Bar, where we put caramelised milk powder into chocolate, it just makes me say “Ah I remember this when…” and that’s what it’s all about. IS IT TRUE THAT YOU KEEP A POSTIT-NOTE PAD NEXT TO YOUR BED TO JOT DOWN NOTES? Yes it is. I have a pack of post-it-notes in my car as well, so if I’m at the traffic lights and they’re red and I’m stopped, because obviously I won’t do it while I’m driving, if I think of something I write it down. I’m constantly on the phone going ‘I’ve got this idea for this’, so when I go to bed I’m thinking ‘right what is my next recipe?’ That’s what its all about, constantly thinking about food. WHAT HAS BEEN THE BEST AND WORST MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR? Best moment by far was representing the United Kingdom at the World Skills
competition in Japan in 2007. I became the first British pastry chef to win a Medallion of Excellence. That was my proudest moment ever. Worst moment. I was working for a small gastro pub and the chef, who was a little bit bad tempered, didn’t like the way I did the roast potatoes and I ended up having a plate and a box of spinach thrown at me. I nearly left the industry at that point, but some little words from Heston kept ringing in my ear and I carried on. WHO WOULD YOU LOVE TO WORK WITH THAT YOU HAVEN’T HAD A CHANCE TO ALREADY? I would love to go and work at home with Michel Roux Senior. He is the pinnacle of patisserie. It’s old school but it’s the best school. His house in Switzerland, just me and him, making apricot frangipane tart would be amazing. HAVE YOU ANY PLANS TO EXPAND YOUR BUSINESS IN THE FUTURE? We’ve got another two books in the pipeline and we’re working on some exciting TV ideas. Next would be looking at my own brand of Will Torrent products, which will hopefully be sold exclusively at Harrods for the first year. Then, to take over the world through cake and chocolate. AND COMPLETELY UNRELATED, BUT I RECENTLY READ THAT YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS A BRITISH MICHAEL BUBLE? Michael Parkinson has described me as a British Michael Bublé. As one of my hobbies I am a singer and I perform with a guy called Laurie Hollaway who is the musical director for the first two series of Strictly Come Dancing. COULD WE CONVINCE YOU TO GIVE US A LITTLE RENDITION TODAY? Not at the moment, but you never know what might happen in the next few years.
Street Food Fanatics
Visitors at 2013’s Salon Culinaire were treated to the delicious addition of some amazing street food vendors. The range was outstanding and even with the erratic downpours that persisted throughout the day; the rich aromas didn’t dampen the spirits of those queuing for a sample of these succulent treats.
he carts ranged from jerk chicken wraps to sweet chilli pork in steamed buns so soft it was like biting into a cloud. There was Frank’s Hotdogs whose dill pickles and chilli topped hot dogs captured the essence of that All-American dish. Next was the falafel stall with colours that embodied its Eastern European heritage. This was swiftly followed by another American dish, this time a delicious bbq pulled pork roll that melted into your mouth topped with a sweet crunchy slaw. Last but not least, there were succulent chilli noodles that not only tasted divine but also warmed everyone up after their stint in the rain. With such a large variety, some visitors found it hard to say no to having a little sample of everything and with the weather being so bad what better excuse to try these tasty treats and keep your insides warm with sizzling spices.
Tom Allen Attending his first ever Salon with Sodexo, new recruit Tom Allen has a lot to look forward to. We caught up with the down to earth chef... By Isabel Nash
om Allen is currently the executive development chef for Sodexo Education, a bit of a mouthful but his role is incredibly important for the future of the company. He is responsible for the culinary happenings in all the independent schools that Sodexo is involved with. “I oversee all the food, mainly in development, so new concepts in the look and the feel of the whole thing,” he explained. With a growing number of over 80 independent schools around the UK, Tom’s improvements in the kitchen is crucial. Tom’s career has flourished since his interest emerged at the age of 16, when he worked in the kitchens at London’s prestigious Garrick Club. After this, he went into the restaurant business, cooking in esteemed eateries around the capital. It is only in the last ten years that contract catering has become Tom’s biggest project. “My first experience was actually here
at Ascot,” he recalls. “I remember my first day cutting two palettes of red cabbage for Royal Ascot week! I had very red fingers.” Working his way though the ranks, Tom became an executive chef in London before making a life changing, career choice by moving to the USA: “The opportunities in America were fantastic for me. Working all over from the Staple Centre in LA, to the United Centre in Chicago and running the US Open in New York in 2010.” Catering for the rich and famous in London’s O2 as well as running the Brit awards for the last 7 years, to working as the executive chef at the Royal Palaces, it is clear that Tom is determined in his aspirations to cater to everyone from all walks of life, including royalty. Now that he has joined the Sodexo family, he is passing on his expert knowledge and skills to the young chefs of the future: “I take [the chefs]
on supply trips to meet the producers: farm trips, fishmongers, fruit and vegetable suppliers. Next week I’m taking a group of chefs out to Paris, to do a bakery course with another part of the company called Le Notre. We’ve been running courses all year with the independent school guys.” This year is Tom’s first experience of a Salon Culinaire, but the opportunities that arise through events such as these are fantastic: “It’s really important for the youngsters coming through to share best practices, network with their peers and have fun doing the competition. I think it’s a great way of engaging our team, our younger students and younger chefs coming through in the ranks because at the end of the day they are our future, and in 15 years they are going to be the future head chefs.” We hope to be seeing more of this cooking connoisseur and we look forward to his developments in the kitchen.
A key part of Salon Culinaire is the static displays, which provide a showcase of work created by employees across Sodexo. Visually these displays bring attention to the skills and creativity of Sodexo employees from every department, not solely the chefs.
he 18 different categories of static displays ranged from the sweet such as cake baking, with wonders including a multi-layered, sumptuous, red velvet cake with intricate sugar roses with a gradient effect - to sugar floral displays that could easily be mistaken for a real flower arrangement. The sweet displays also included highly popular cupcake designs, many with a Halloween twist. The innovative café selection, where a variety of small sweet desserts are grouped together to create a complementing arrangement of flavours showed impressive knowledge on flavour combinations. Also in the sweet
categories were the tray bake, dessert tart and baked cheesecake including gluten free baking. The highlight of the static displays however, were the decorated novelty cakes, the attention to detail on the Alice in Wonderland inspired cake was unbelievable, with miniature china cups and saucers, melting clocks and of course, Alice herself. An adorable west highland terrier was almost lifelike laid on the display table and a grand multifaced Buddha displayed incredible design talent. There were also presentations that didn’t involve food, such as the Guy Fawkes themed table displays, which showed an eye for creativity and novelty table decoration.
Salon Culinaire’s savoury displays were also an infusion of flavours and texture - from imaginative bread displays, to plated main courses with a duck breast or fish dish option, the lobster dish being a particularly impressive choice with striking vertical presentation. The savoury category also hosted the plated three course meal for two, where amateur and professional chefs alike had to combine a starter, main and dessert, which complimented one another, all beautifully presented. Gold, silver and bronze awards went to the judge’s picks of the day, but every submission was a real credit to Sodexo.
WILLIAMS: CATCH OF THE DAY by Hayley Rorrison
In 2012 Alyn Williams was awarded chef of the year, was in the top 15 of National Restaurant Awards and gained a Michelin star for his restaurant at the Westbury hotel in London. Despite his exceptional success, he still finds pleasure in helping others and this year he got involved with Sodexo’s Salon Culinaire 2013, to give inspiration to young aspiring chefs. At the event he revealed some of his tips to success, future goals and his love for simple foods. WHAT INVOLVEMENT DO YOU HAVE WITH SODEXO? I am part of ‘The Craft Guild Of Chefs’ and because I was chef of the year in 2012 I got involved with helping the organisation out with competitions. The Vice President of The Craft Guild of Chefs, David Mulcahy, asked me to come along and help out with the Young Sodexo Chef of the Year Competition. I am also doing a demonstration. NOW YOU HAVE A MICHELIN STAR RESTAURANT DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW GOALS? There are always goals. If you don’t have goals you may as well give up. I have one Michelin star now so I would like to get two, but that is a lot of work. You have to get your consistency levels up and become more creative and you need to add more personality to what you do. My main goal is to carry on running a successful restaurant; it is what I love to do. WHERE WAS YOUR FAVOURITE PLACE TO EAT BEFORE YOU BECAME A PROFESSIONAL CHEF? My favourite place to eat was probably at home. HOW ABOUT NOW? I’m not sure about a favourite but, living in the centre of London, there are lots of good places to eat. All the time, great new restaurants are opening and there are lots of new chefs coming through the ranks, evolving what we eat in the industry. I love to eat at another restaurant that is based at the hotel where I am, called the Brasserie Chavot. It’s a classic French brasserie and they have great snails. WHEN YOU GET HOME FROM A LONG DAY, DO YOU EVER JUST COOK SOMETHING SIMPLE? My kids wouldn’t eat Michelin star at home. They come to the restaurant, but it’s all simple stuff at home. CAN YOU TELL ME A LITTLE MORE ABOUT YOUR INVOLVEMENT WITH CHEFSTOCK?
This is the first year we did it and it was a collaboration series, so each Tuesday in September I invited a guest chef to collaborate with me. We prepared dinner for 60 people and created four dishes, each which alternated mine, and their food. I had two great chefs from England, one called Sat Bains from Nottingham, who has two Michelin stars and Simon Rogan from Cumbria who also has two Michelin stars. I also had Bart De Pooter from Belgium with two Michelin stars and Iggy Chan from Singapore who has a restaurant that is in the top 50 in the world. We saw some really nice dishes, it was great fun and there was some great techniques used. It was really good to have them at the restaurant. WHAT WAS IT LIKE WORKING WITH GORDON RAMSEY? It was good, I like Gordon, and he’s very straight to the point. If you know what he wants, and if you do what he expects of you, you don’t get the shouting, screaming man you see on the TV. He’s a fantastic chef probably one of the most naturally gifted chefs there is. He is also compassionate, which we don’t always see. I HEARD YOU HAD A SIX-YEAR GAP BETWEEN COOKING TO GO TO WORK AS A SNOWBOARDING INSTRUCTOR, WHAT MADE YOU DO THAT? Well it wasn’t really a gap; the skiing season is only six months of the year so the rest of the year I was at home cooking. I started as a chalet boy and I had never skied before, but loved it and took up snowboarding. It has become my second love. FINALLY, DO YOU HAVE ANY CAREER ADVICE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE TRYING TO BREAK INTO THE FOOD INDUSTRY? Always work hard, stay focused and do what you enjoy. If you really enjoy doing it, not a lot of effort goes into it. You have to be focused in what you do.
MATT DAWSON M
ost people will remember Matt Dawson MBE as one of the few Englishmen to have won the Rugby World Cup or even more recently as one of the team captains on BBC’s A Question of Sport. But Dawson also holds a role with Sodexo. Matt is the health & wellbeing ambassador for Sodexo and has helped to create and promote several healthy recipes for Sodexo customers. The aim of this is to encourage and endorse healthy eating and a balanced diet. Alongside top chefs and dieticians, Matt has helped develop a new range of menus with Sodexo’s Be part of it scheme, a scheme that follows the principles of Sodexo’s Healthwise initiative. Speaking about his role in the development of Be part of it, Matt said: “It’s a slightly healthier scheme, in co-ordination with the Healthwise initiative that we have going across all of our segments. “I have devised a slightly healthier menu, just lowering even more of the salts, sugars and fats that we put in. We’re naturally very careful in what we do at Sodexo anyway, but I’m trying to change people’s opinions and understanding of what they need to put into their food to still make it very, very tasty and healthy. “So it’s still lots of flavourful food, maybe something a little bit different, there are a lot of different cultures of food and local produce but still generally looking after the health and nutrition of the staff through the offer of Be part of it.” Matt launched Be part of it in 2011 and helped explain the wide variety of foods that were present on the menu:
“I was always into food and enjoyed going out to dine as well as cooking at home.” “There are about 150 recipes, so I’ve been going to a lot of the sites and launching it, ready for this year’s Be part of it. “We’ve done lots of fish, stir fry, a really nice Thai-style pork, there’s a few little cheeky cakes in there but again, still looking at the sugar content but still keeping loads of flavours used in food generally by using a lot of herbs, spices, seeds, nuts and trying to be as inventive as possible.”
Matt also stressed the simplicity that these recipes offer: “One of the ones we’ve been doing is a really nice lamb saag, it’s so easy to do, we’ve been cooking that one in front of the customers with all the produce and within 8-9 minutes it is done.” Matt reached many highs in his career as a professional rugby union player but only burst onto the cooking scene shortly after his retirement when he entered the first series of BBC’s Celebrity MasterChef back in 2006. Matt’s impressive skills in the kitchen helped him to go on and win the series beating fellow contestants Roger Black and Hardeep Singh Kohli in the final. Matt definitely see’s his future in food with his ambassadorial role at Sodexo and he owes a lot of his skills down to the show. He said: “I’m definitely into food a lot more now, having won that seven years ago. Before, I was always into food and enjoyed going out to dine as well as cooking at home. “The knowledge that I have taken on board from the show, from working at Sodexo and from friends in the industry as well has probably widened my repertoire somewhat.” Matt certainly sees his future in food following his success on Celebrity MasterChef and with his ambassadorial role at Sodexo and certainly has the passion, that any professional athlete would say you need to be successful in their field, to employ into his food. You can find Matt’s Be part of it recipes online by visiting the Sodexo Healthwise website. Or alternatively via this link: http://www. sodexo-healthwise.co.uk/uk/ukhw/ healthwise/seasonal/recipes.asp
A special thank you to all the Sodexo employees who made this years Salon Culinaire a huge success. Contributors Isabel Nash Daisy Churchward Suzi King Chris Woods Sian Fardon Hayley Rorrison Leah Boardman Jake Stout Jack Walker Sophie Park Joel Woolrich Emily Collier Steven Williams Jana Matthaeus Tom Fowler Matt Weet Yasmine Najib