Every year The Universities Catering Organisation- TUCO, holds a competition to showcase the culinary talents from within Higher and Further Education. Universities from all over the country take part in a variety of different categories including, Chef of the year, Barista skills challenge, Salon culinaire, Chefs challenge and many more.
Here at UEA Catering, we have been lucky enough to have members of our staff become finalists the last three years and be given the opportunity to show the rest of the country their talents. Each year we value everyones support through kind words and through social media using #Tucocomps.
Sous Chef Matthew Crooks was named The Universities Catering Organisations’ (TUCO) Chef of the Year 2016 at a recent competition held in Warwick.
Each competitor was required to deliver a vegetarian, chicken and a sustainable fish dish for two people, based around the theme of ‘street food’. The top 16 chefs from UK universities competed against each other around the clock to produce their dishes.
The panel of judges watched the chefs cooking, taking into account cooking skills, hygiene and presentation before sampling the dishes.
Matthew created an innovative menu including ‘Roasted chipotle and fresh cherry glazed belly of pork with a sautéed Korean style kimchi and pickled ribbons of cucumber and radish’.
Matthew said: “I am extremely honoured to have represented the UEA for the past three years and to have actually won Chef of the Year is truly amazing. It has taken a lot of hard work what with practicing prior to the competition whilst still being a Sous Chef in the main UEA Kitchens.
“We always go to the competitions as a team and help and support each other at the individual events. The Catering management team have been extremely supportive and I would like to thank them for having faith in me. Without his vision none of this would have been possible.”
We also had Matthew Crooks & Csaba Varjas enter the Chefs challenge, creating a three course menu in just two hours.This year saw two baristas from Catering take part in the University Barista of the Year competition. Adam Davies and David Carter both represented UEA, with David taking 4th place and Adam coming 7th out of 26 competitors.
The team had undergone extensive training for several months leading up to the completion. Adam and David had been mentored by UEA Head Barista Clare Gee, who had previously represented the UEA at the Barista competitions in 2014 and 2015.
Well done to the University of East Anglia's Catering team who represented us at the Annual TUCO Skills Challenges in March held in Blackpool 2015.
The finalists were:
Clare Whitmore - Barista Skills Challenge Bamba Khan - Barista Skills Challenge
Matthew Crooks - Street Food Chef of the Year Csaba Varjas & Matthew Crooks - Chefs Challenge