Parliamentary Pub Chef of the Year winners announced

09/02/2018 - 07:00
Two pub chefs were honoured at the House of Commons on Wednesday (7 February) as they were crowned Parliamentary Pub Chef and Young Pub Chef of the Year.

Amy Houghton of The Shoulder of Mutton in Hebden Bridge was named Young Pub Chef of the Year while the more senior award went to Kevin MacLean of The Rat Inn, Hexham.

The chefs were nominated for the awards by their local MPs who were both on hand to see their constituents pick up their awards before they headed to the chamber to vote on other matters.

Mike Wood MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group, which runs the event alongside the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) and sponsors Nestle Professional, described the level of ability shown throughout the competition as “hugely impressive”.

“It was great to see even more MPs engaging with their local pubs and nominating some fantastic chefs for this year’s competition,” he said. “Amy and Kevin can be tremendously proud of their achievement.”

A record 130 nominations were received from MPs around the country this year, with those nominees whittled down to four finalists in each of the two categories to take part in cook-off, held last month.

In the cook-off, which took place at the culinary training venue, Hospitality House, in London, Houghton won over the judges with her venison dish, while MacLean got through with his cooked brill with razor clams.

“I’m in shock, I really am,” said Houghton. “I chose to do venison for the cook-off because I love it, it’s probably one of my favourite meats. The town I live in is really small, so I went for things that I knew I could source locally, that would complement the dish well.

"Everyone was really routing for me back in the pub, they were actually live streaming the awards ceremony tonight in front of the customers so they saw that I’d won at the same time I found out. Winning has given me more confidence in myself and I would really like to thank my MP Craig Whittaker for nominating me."

MacLean added: “It’s an honour to win and I would personally like to thank Guy Opperman for nominating me in the first place. Hopefully the profile of this competition will keep rising and rising and bring more chefs into the industry, which in turn will raise the awareness of the great British pub and all the good food and great work all these people across the country are doing."

Over 80 attendees from the education, media and pub industry, including celebrity chef and judge, Paul Merrett, atteneded the event at the House of Commons, including BBPA chief Brigid Simmonds.

“The standard of cooking on display in this year’s competition really was outstanding, all of the finalists should feel very proud of what they have achieved,” said Simmonds.

“Particular congratulations must go of course to the winners, Kevin and Amy, who displayed such flair and passion for their food. Pubs are increasingly home to some of the best British chefs which is very exciting for the future of our sector.”

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