Young Chef judges Malcolm Emery and David Mulcahy
Young Chef judges Malcolm Emery and David Mulcahy

Six of the best young chefs in Sussex have been announced this week to compete in a ‘MasterChef’ style cook off at the Amex Stadium in Brighton on Thursday 27 October.  This final round will decide who wins the hotly contended title of Sussex Young Chef of the Year, sponsored by Sodexo Prestige, as part of the Sussex Food & Drink Awards 2017.

The candidates, who were nominated by the public and then shortlisted by a panel of judges, will have to create, prepare and produce a full three-course menu based on local and seasonal ingredients in only 90 minutes.   Malcolm Emery, Principal Chef and David Mulcahy, Craft & Food Development Director at Sodexo Prestige will be heading up the judging panel and joining them for the first time this year will be Great British Menu champion, Matt Gillan.

Matt has worked in Sussex for over ten years at The Pass restaurant at South Lodge in Horsham where he retained a Michelin star for five years.  He left his role as Head Chef at The Pass earlier this year to move on to new challenges, but he remains a huge enthusiast for Sussex food.  Along with the other judges, Matt will be looking for innovation and an appreciation of all things local in the six menus that are created for this final stage in the competition.

Representing West Sussex is the youngest chef in the competition, 22-year-old Rachel Burroughs from South Lodge Hotel in Lower Beeding; and 23-year-old Adam Sear from The Fox Eating and Drinking House in West Hoathly.  Flying the flag for East Sussex is 23-year-old Anna Shopland from The Fountain Inn in Plumpton; 25-year-old Jose Ferreira from The Sussex Ox in Polegate; and one of last year’s Grand Finalists, 23-year-old Michael Sutherland from The Star Inn in Alfriston.  Also joining them is 25-year-old Mark Smith from The Ginger Pig in Brighton.

Said Malcolm Emery, “The cook off is a really tough test for all these talented young men and women and they really have to deliver under pressure.  The nominations we have received this year are extremely impressive and the taste, presentation, creativity, saleability, sourcing of ingredients and consumer appeal of their menus will all be carefully considered by the judges. ”

Over 13,000 people have voted for their top choices in the Sussex Food & Drink Awards 2017, a record in the 11 years the scheme has been running which seeks the best food and drink producers, farmers, butchers and places serving and selling local produce.

As well as earning the huge respect and recognition that these awards now carry, winners and runners up in all ten categories will go on to receive their trophies on 1 February 2017 at a BAFTA-style ceremony hosted by awards patron, Sally Gunnell OBE and Danny Pike from BBC Sussex.  The ceremony includes a spectacular seven-course Sussex produce banquet produced by Sodexo Prestige at the Amex Stadium.

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