The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) opened the second Parliamentary Pub Chef Awards competition last month in association with Nestlé Professional and the All Party Beer Group, and nominations are gaining pace with entries coming in from around the country. The success of the 2015/16 awards, in which over 120 entries were received, sets the benchmark to be beaten as MPs recognise the huge contribution pubs make to the dining out market.
The summer recess offers MPs the prime opportunity to get out into their constituencies, visit their local pubs and look to nominate their best and most impressive pub chefs. Government Minister and Penrith and The Border MP, Rory Stewart, was quick off the mark nominating Chef Stephen Kierney of The Cross Keys, in Penrith. He said: “Pubs are of huge importance to our constituency, the role they play within our community and the benefit they add to both the local, and national economy. Pubs serve almost a billion meals a year; with more pubs recognising that great food will attract more customers and boost business. My constituency has many outstanding chefs and it’s been a hard choice but I am delighted to nominate Stephen for this important award.”
With nominations closing on 27th October, pub chefs are vying for recognition in the two categories – Pub Chef and Young Pub Chef. A glowing example of the benefit of the awards is Chef Robert Yuill, the previous winner of the Young Pub Chef category. His career has advanced significantly as a result of the award, he says: “Winning the award made an instant difference to my life. It brought instant recognition locally via local news and media, and opened up doors for me to progress professionally. I enjoyed every aspect of the competition. It was a privilege to be involved in something so passionate in recognising the skills that go into cooking in pubs, and all the expertise shared by all the people involved. I learned that I can perform under immense pressure, and that on the day I could compete with some of the best in the country. I would do it again in a heartbeat.”
In December, a panel of judges that will include former Michelin Star holder and TV guest chef Paul Merrett; Chief Executive of the BBPA Brigid Simmonds and an executive chef from Nestlé Professional, will choose shortlisted finalists who will go forward to a cook-off. Winners will be announced in early 2018.
Pubs can prompt their MP to visit and nominate their chefs by visiting http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/ and entering their postcode. MP contact information and twitter details can be found here.