In front of a packed house of over 400 people the four semi-finalists in the CH1ChesterBID Sous Chef Challenge did battle on Sunday at the Chester Food and Drink Festival, brought to you by Allington Hughes Law.
The four finalists, Harry Redmayne from Bar Lounge, Sergio Alonso of Chez Jules, Mike Hodges from Upstairs at the Grill and Jack Hughes of the Coach House had 45 minutes to prepare a winning dish on the stage where they were judged by none other than Masterchef star Gregg Wallace.
Wallace announced, with fellow judges, Taste Cheshire’s Gaile Wundke and Harthill Cookery School owner Brian Mellor, that Mike Hodges of Upstairs at the Grill was their winner.
Mike pulled off a stunning custard souffle with a rhubarb sorbet, rhubarb salsa and crumble topping. Gregg Wallace described the dish before the start as “incredibly difficult and very ambitious, filled with potential problems, but a match winner if he pulled it off” – he did and the judges were stunned! Hodges will be presented with his trophy by Carl Critchlow the CH1 Bid Manager at the Taste Cheshire Awards.
Gregg Wallace said “If this is the standard of cooking in Chester at this level then the future of food and drink is assured. This is the highest quality cooking by all four of our contestants and I was simply blown away.”
The food and drink festival held over Easter was hit by the weather but that didn’t stop over 25,000 people attending. Down from last years record of 29,600 but given the conditions, the organisers said they were delighted with the attendance. Festival Organiser, Stephen Wundke said “Despite the heavy rainfall, it was an amazing turnout from our many visitors and they all seemed to have a great time. It was the best looking festival we have ever staged and it was a shame about the weather. However, this competition was a real highlight and both our young chefs and Gregg Wallace put on a fabulous show”.