Clark Crawley, head chef at one of Gather & Gather’s UK-wide contracts, has won gold as part of the all-conquering English National Culinary team in the Culinary Olympics at the Messe Erfurt in Germany.
England won gold in the Restaurant of Nations event and bronze in the international buffet. The junior team won silver in the edible buffet and bronze in the Restaurant of Nations.
Clark played a key role in the English senior team, responsible for leading the starters; creating his own dishes for both the live kitchen and cold buffet sections.
The Culinary Olympics are organised every four years and endorsed by the World Association of Chefs’ Societies. 30 national teams, 20 junior national teams and more than 2,000 professional chefs competed in the four-day competition. It is about superhuman organisational skills, sorting out accommodation, equipment and kitchen facilities. The competition itself is split into two heats in a live kitchen. The team has five hours to prepare everything from scratch, then run a two-hour service for 120 covers.
Clark and his teammates were spotted by British Culinary Federation members at competitions around the UK. He and the team have been training for a year, working with the hot and cold food criteria set for the Olympics. For much of the summer the team focused on finalising their menus and designs for every dish in the cold buffet, as well as selecting crockery and equipment.
Allister Richards, Managing Director of Gather & Gather said: “Clark’s selection and the England Team’s gold medal is a great endorsement of our chefs. Gather & Gather is all about great food and it’s the brilliance of our chefs and their teams – often behind the scenes – that enables us to offer our customers something extra special. It is a fantastic achievement for the whole team and our congratulations goes to all of them, but especially Clark.”
Team members included Andrew Ditchfield (House of Commons); Clark Crawley (Gather & Gather); Rob Kennedy (Royal Military Academy Sandhurst); Nathan Aldous (Emmanuel College, Cambridge University); Dennis Mwakulua (Eversheds); Matt Jones (House of Commons); and Daniel Abbs (Emmanuel College).
The junior team was comprised of Edward Marsh (Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa); Thomas Kirkby (Adams restaurant); Nathan Lane (Simpsons restaurant); Jack Gameson (University College Birmingham); Elliot Lawn (University College Birmingham); and Gregory Evans (University College Birmingham); all mentored by Matthew Shropshall and Richard Taylor of University College Birmingham.
Competition organiser Lee Corke said: “The Olympics is the largest culinary event in the world, with over 30 national teams, 20 junior national teams and many other chefs competing both regionally and individually. It is one of the toughest competitions in the world and both the senior and junior teams performed very well.”
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