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Tabasco Brand Hot Chef Competition Returns

tabascoThe call to entries for the 5th annual TABASCO® Brand Hot Chef competition in partnership with the Craft Guild of Chefs and Flagship Europe has opened.

Catering college students of all ages can enter the multi-stage, food service focused cooking competition through an online application from now until 28th October 2016.

The annual competition celebrates the next generation of culinary talent with three rounds of cooking competitions, culminating with a live-action finale at the Hospitality Show in Birmingham in 2017.

The event will see the inspiring chefs battle it out for a chance to win the title and an all-expenses paid trip to Avery Island, Louisiana where TABASCO® Sauce has been made for nearly 150 years.  Additionally, Whitbread, the UK’s largest hospitality company, will consider putting the winning dish on their menu.

This year’s theme centres around the growing trend of “slow cooking” on out of home menus.  The competition challenges students to develop a “slow cooked” dish using TABASCO® pepper sauces*. The submission must also include two side dishes to complement the overall tasting experience.

Judges will evaluate dishes on the key criteria of flavour, taste and ease of service in a pub or brasserie environment. The judging panel is made up of members from the Craft Guild of Chefs; TABASCO® Brand’s Corporate Chef, Gary Evans; and Whitbread’s Executive Chef, Dave Rust.

Following the review of online submissions, a shortlist of semi-finalists will be notified by 7th November 2016 and invited to compete at the University of West London for a live cooking demonstration of their dishes.  Judges will then decide who will make it to the grand finale at the Hospitality Show in Birmingham.

Last year’s winner, Lexington Catering College student Gaia Tomasin won the challenge with a “street food” themed chicken dish made with TABASCO® Sauce. Gaia will travel to Avery Island with her college mentor at the end of August where she will explore the home of TABASCO® Sauce.  Her innovative dish will also be featured on Beefeater’s menu from September 2016 onwards.

Dave Rust, executive chef at Whitbread said, “The TABASCO® Brand Hot Chef Competition is a prestigious event that as a business, Whitbread are delighted to support once again. Our Food Team developed Gaia’s winning entry into a commercially and operationally viable dish so we’re very excited to see the innovative slow-cook recipes that are submitted this year.”

Gaia commented: “The competition really stretched my skills allowing me to create something unique. My inspiration came from what I would like to eat but I wanted to make sure it appealed to a broad audience.

“I really enjoyed experimenting with TABASCO® pepper sauces when creating my recipe. TABASCO® Sauce was an integral ingredient and really brought some kick to the dish. I learned that if you push yourself and practise, you can really achieve a great dish.”

McIlhenny Company, the makers of TABASCO® Sauce, endeavour to support chefs at the start of their careers like those taking part in the competition. Senior vice president and 5th generation McIlhenny family member, Harold Osborn said, “My family is proud to support and celebrate individuals making cooking their career.

“These young chefs are innovating and starting the trends that drive the broader food industry as well as shaping the way consumers eat and think about food.’”

TABASCO® Brand, the Craft Guild of Chefs and Flagship Europe look forward to receiving inventive slow-cook recipes for the fifth edition of the TABASCO® Brand Hot Chef Competition. Competitors can download the entry form from www.flagshipeurope.eu/HotChef2017 or email enquiries@craftguildofchefs.org

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