MasterChef runner-up wins national title

Former MasterChef Professionals runner-up Adam Handling has gone one better at the British Culinary Federation Awards by taking home the title of Chef of the Year.
 
Handling, head chef at Caxton Grill, reached the final of the BBC show last year, but was crowned the winner at this week’s industry awards dinner at University College Birmingham after being challenged to create a three course meal for two covers focusing on two different cuts of lamb.
 
The winning menu saw him prepare salmon, pea, dill and apple, followed by lamb, cauliflower and pickled savoy, with rice puff, chocolate, caramel and orange for dessert.
 
The title means Handling has become the 14th chef to walk away with the prize and has joined other winners and Michelin starred professionals, such as Simon Hulstone, Richard Turner, Luke Tipping and Bocuse d’Or candidate Adam Bennett.
 
Taking second place in the competition was Byron Franklin from Clare College in Cambridge with Nick Evans from Middlethorpe Hall in York, finishing third.
 
The judging panel, which included the likes of Alain Roux from The Waterside Inn, Ashley Palmer Watts from Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, and Laurent Bouvier, president at Les Toques Blanches Lyonnaises, also gave top ten places to James Buckley from The Genuine Dining Company, Mathew Shropshall from University College Birmingham, Carlos Martinez from The Stafford Kempinski, Keith Hooker from Restaurant Associates, Compass Group, Imthiaz Kader from Wyndham Grand Chelsea Harbour, Dez Turland from Saunton Sands Hotel, and Keiron Stevens from Michael Wignall at The Latymer, Pennyhill Park.
 
Commenting on the jury’s decision, Alain Roux, said: “Adam mastered the cooking, seasoning and flavour of the lamb. His seasonality of ingredients and the balance of flavour made him a clear winner.”
 
As well as gaining the prestigious title, Handling also took away a cheque for £2,500 and the chance to join the English National Culinary Team in Luxembourg at this November’s Culinary World Cup.
 
By Owen Mckeon
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