Sustainability on the Menu at Southern Finals of UK Seafood Championships

Up and coming chefs from across the region will be showing off their culinary skills this week as City College Norwich hosts the Southern Finals of the UK Seafood Championships. Student chefs will be creating 3 contemporary dishes all utilising fish and seafood from sustainable sources.

Sixteen students from across the South of England will be competing in the competition preparing a shellfish starter, a smoked fish intermediate course and a main course using a whole fish of either farmed Scottish salmon or Mediterranean sea bass. Competition sponsors, Young’s, will provide the fish and seafood, which is either sustainably farmed or from Marine Stewardship Council certified fisheries, and the competitors will have a strict budget of £42 to buy all other produce needed to create 6 covers.

Bradley Trent, 18, of Harleston and Sarah Griffiths, 17, of Hethersett will be representing City College Norwich in the competition. They are both studying for the Advanced Diploma in Professional Cookery at the College and aspire to be top chefs in the future. The pair came up with ideas and developed a sample menu with costings in order to be selected to represent the College in the competition, and will be in competition against their counterparts from other colleges for a place in the National finals.

Up to four winners from both the Southern and Northern finals will subsequently go forward to the prestigious National Final in Grimsby in June and have a chance to win a £1,000 prize and to gain work experience at Young’s Development Kitchens or the award-winning Mitch Tonks restaurant.

The panel of four judges will include Chris Busby, Executive chef at Brasted’s in Norwich and celebrity chef and Traiteur Frank Pontais along with other judges from the fish and seafood industry. Diners will include the many local restaurateurs and hoteliers who support the College’s Hotel School and provide work experience placements and apprenticeships for students as well as some Debut restaurant regulars.

Steve Thorpe, Head of the Hotel School at City College Norwich said: “Competitions like these are extremely important for young chefs, as it gives them the chance to pit their skills against, and learn from, the best of their peers. With only 2 ½ hours to create and serve 3 courses from scratch they will need to manage their time well and create dishes of the highest standard to impress the judges. The competition has also taught students about the sustainability issues, such as finding out where the fish comes from, how many miles has it travelled, how it was sourced and what impact its production has had on the environment. The variety of fish they will be using is limited to encourage them to create new and exciting dishes rather than using exotic species.”