Celebrated Michelin-starred chef Mark Sargeant is looking forward to judging in the UK Young Seafood Chef of the Year 2020 as the competition launches.
Mark Sargeant, who will head the team of judges at the competition final, which will be held in June in Grimsby, discovered a passion for cooking at a young age and won the UK Hospitality and the Restaurant Association, Young Chef of the Year, in his early career. He worked with Gordon Ramsay and now operates the Rocksalt restaurant in Folkestone, as well as recently adding three new pubs to his portfolio.
The annual competition sponsored by Seafish, the public body that supports the £10bn UK seafood industry, and run by The Grimsby Institute, always attracts a high standard of team entries. Now in its 24th year, it seeks out those aspiring chefs and encourages them to cook with seafood.
The young chefs, all under the age of 25, will be competing in one of three regional heats to be held at City College, Norwich (1st May), Sunderland College (15th May), and Coleg Llandrillo Cymru, North Wales (22nd May). They will work in teams of two to produce a three course seafood menu using sustainably sourced seafood provided by Young’s Seafood.
Mark, who is passionate about getting youngsters into the industry, said: “As a young chef I was lucky enough to win a few competitions and the skills and confidence I gained through competing was fantastic. I met some fantastic chefs who were so encouraging and I want to give back something to the young chefs out there. Seafood is an essential commodity and we need to learn how to respect and cook it properly.”
Each team will be judged by a panel of professionals, including a regional chef. The judging will be headed by Ben Bartlett, Master Craft Guild of Chefs and Seafish Ambassador and include Emma McKeating, master fishmonger and Seafish Ambassador, who will judge the filleting.
Nine teams will go through to the Grand Final at The Grimsby Institute on Friday 12th June where they will cook a three course seafood menu, while being judged on their filleting and culinary skills. This year’s guest judge has been confirmed as Mark Sargeant, but past judges have included Daniel Clifford, Jean-Christophe Novelli, Cyrus Todiwala, Nathan Outlaw, and Mitch Tonks.
Nikki Hawkins, Trade Events Manager at Seafish, and competition judge, said: “The UK Young Seafood Chef of the Year is an important event for the seafood industry. It provides opportunities to connect the industry with colleges and young chefs, ensuring quality seafood is on menus for years to come.
Paul Robinson, Associate Principal, Commercial Enterprise at The Grimsby Institute said: “The experience of this competition will give the young chefs a chance to develop new skills. It’s invaluable and will help with their future careers in the catering industry.”
All finalists will spend a night at the Brackenborough Hotel Louth and attend a gala dinner provided as part of the event by the Oak Ridge Hotel Group.
The winning team will receive £1,000 voucher for Russum’s catering equipment for their college; £500 each; cookbook; competition trophy; seafood competition medal and prize certificates. All winning recipes will feature on the Seafish website.
The deadline for applications and paper entries to the competition is Monday 1st April 2020.
For more information visit the website.