Monday 18 March saw a team of fantastic chefs from London’s top restaurants come together to cook an exquisite meal in aid of the Bocuse d’Or UK Academy.
The Academy, founded in late 2017 by chef turned restaurateur Andreas Antona, is supported entirely by donations and sponsorship and exists to support Team UK in the world’s largest and most prestigious chef competition.
The idea for the fundraising dinner came from Simon Rogan, President of Team UK and chef owner of L’Enclume in Cartmel, Roganic and Aulis in London and the recently Roganic and Aulis in Hong Kong. Simon opened the restaurant especially, brought in his team on their day off and supplied goody bags for all the diners.
Andreas Antona, kicked off the evening by thanking guests for their support and introducing Fred Langdale from Exton Park vineyard, sponsors of the sparkling wine. Fred said a few words about the Simon Rogan rosé which was served as the welcome drink. Andreas went on to say a few words about the Bocuse d’Or competition and handed the floor to John Williams, executive chef at The Ritz London, who competed for the UK in 2001 and is now technical director of the UK Team.
Simon Rogan spoke about his first Bocuse d’Or experience as President of the UK Team, stressing that the contest is not a level playing field and sharing his ambition to help the UK place on the podium. He added, “I hate losing, we came tenth which is an amazing result but I want to see Team UK on the podium, to demonstrate our culinary talent to the rest of the world and prove that we have what it takes.”
Six top chefs each prepared a different course for the dinner but it was all hands on deck as they came together to put everything in place before it was taken from the pass.
Bocuse d’Or candidate 2019, Tom Phillips, head chef at Restaurant Story, started the evening on a high with his Bocuse d’Or entry inspired Truffle and Tunworth tartlet and crispy cod skin with smoked roe. The truffle was supplied by Urbani Truffle, sponsor of Bocuse d’Or Team UK.
Jonny Lake who left The Fat Duck in 2018 and is looking to open his next venture in London this year, prepared Gilthead bream, pici and artichokes. This was followed by the main event, Dry aged Cumbrian beef, wild garlic from Simon Rogan.
The wines paired with each course were supplied by Vine Trail (Langoustine starter), Enotria (Gilthead bream and Rhubarb dessert), Les Caves De Pyrene (Cumbrian beef and Salt caramel custard tart). All the crockery and glassware was generously supplied by Steelite and the cutlery was provided by Robert Welch.
Auctioneer Duncan Moir, of Allsop Commercial, helped raised more than £6,000 from prizes donated by The Bay Tree Hotel in Broadstairs, The Corner House in Minster, Dinner by Heston, Exton Park Vineyard, Edgbaston Priory Club, Gusbourne The Nest, Simpsons in Edgbaston, Steelite, The Thomas Lord pub and Tom Sellers from Restaurant Story.
Andreas Antona closed the evening thanking Simon and the Roganic team the guest chefs for making it such a fantastic event, the sponsors and the guest chefs who played their part in what was a hugely enjoyable evening.
Special thanks went to Harry Guy, Simon Rogan’s operations manager, who coordinated the dinner alongside Michelle Diederichs, promotions manager for Bocuse d’Or UK and Jodi Hinds, official Bocuse d’Or UK photographer and social media manager.