The chef brigade at The Cricket Inn will battle it out this month in an effort to be crowned the ultimate Kitchen Champion.
This is the third time staff at the restaurant have taken each other on in a Head2Head competition, with each chef creating a course to make up a six course tasting dinner in hopes of winning the title, based on the feedback of the public.
Sous chef Jake Ledger was the first winner of the competition, held last October. He said: “I take a lot of pride in my dishes so it’s great to have that positive recognition. Everyone did a really good job with their dishes and it was really fun to do.”
With his lamb-based starter, Jake wowed customers with his “Blumenthal” inspired woodland centrepiece, featuring foliage and dry ice, to awaken all senses, in addition to tickling the taste buds of the guests.
He added: “I’m a big fan of food theatre so thought because it was coming into the ‘woodland misty season’ I’d try to reflect that at the table. Using the foliage and pine with a rosemary infused broth also helped to enlighten the senses so it was more than just the taste.”
Double trouble in the kitchen, Oli and Sam Parnell, twin brothers from Sheffield, designed the idea for the competition following the success of The Cricket Inn’s ten year anniversary dinner last July. This month’s competition will feature: head chef, Sam; sous chef, Jake; chef de partie, Pav; executive chef, Oli; sous chef, Kam - the current champion - and chef de partie, Gaz.
Head chef Sam said: “The quality of the food produced in our kitchens is something we are extremely proud. Over the last few years, we have worked really hard to, not only constantly improve the dishes that we serve, but the individuals who make up our kitchen team. From the Chef de Parties to our director, award winning local chef, Richard Smith, we are always looking for ways to entertain our loyal customers, as well as continue to thrive in our kitchen.”
Executive chef Oli added: “By introducing an event that can drive some competitiveness between the chefs, but also gives them the trust and independence to create their own dishes, it really helps to drive morale. It’s all about giving a little back to them and keeping things fun and fresh behind those kitchen doors!”
The third Head2Head dinner will be held on March 16.