L to R:  Nick Denning, Aaron Tong, Andrew Lewis and Richard Narramore.

University chefs win gold

A team of chefs from Campus Services have won the prestigious TUCO Chef’s Challenge award.

The University Caterers Organisation (TUCO) runs the annual event, which took place in Blackpool and is now in its 19th year.

The event is a highlight of any university chef’s calendar with over 20 universities and 60 chefs competing for the coveted gold medal. The team from Exeter, included Aaron Tong (Head Chef, Holland Hall), Andrew Lewis (Chef de Partie, Holland Hall), Nick Denning (Second Chef, Reed Hall) and Team Leader Richard Narramore (Head Chef, La Touche).

The team was set the task of creating a four-course meal in just two hours, which had to follow set guidelines. Exeter’s winning menu included a roasted red pepper and lime infusion with a coconut foam, poached salmon with Indonesian soy sauce and fresh salsa, a herb scented rack and cannon of lamb and a trio of desserts which included an apricot panna cotta, lemon crème brûlée and honey baked plum frangipane. Their winning menu, which had been planned and tested by the team over a four-month period, impressed the team of six judges which included Michelin starred-chef Nigel Haworth.

Head Chef and Team Leader Richard Narramore said, "We are over the moon to have won the gold award. It has been a long journey to get to this point, the team of chefs involved were full of ideas and we had to work hard to ensure we had the right menu. The TUCO challenge is an annual event and for so many years we have been highly commended for different parts of our menu. To be crowned overall winners this year was just fantastic!"

Geoff Pringle, Director of Campus Services said: "I am delighted that the team has won gold at this year’s TUCO competition. This is brilliant news for the team and a richly deserved award for all of our chefs. The whole competition clearly demonstrates the exceptional level of skill in the University sector and highlights the talent and dedication of all of our chefs."

Jilly Court, Director of Operations who attended the award evening said: "The role of a University chef is very diverse. Our team are always incredibly adaptable and deliver first class catering every time, whether they are providing  breakfasts for 400 students at Holland Hall or creating a three-course meal for wedding guests at Reed Hall. I am extremely proud of our TUCO team this year, their dedication, preparation and hard work really has paid off."

Date: 2 April 2012