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Sodexo Ireland Chef Scoops Bronze at UK&I Chef of the Year

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By Chamber Press Office, 20 April 2023

Caption: Gordon Carberry (centre) receiving his bronze medal from David Mulcahy, food innovation and sustainability director, Sodexo UK and Ireland and Steve Munkley, chef director, Salon Culinaire at the HRC show.

Chef Gordon Carberry from Swords in Co. Dublin took home bronze at the 2023 Sodexo UK and Ireland Chef of the Year competition. Gordon, who is head chef for Sodexo at VHI headquarters in Dublin, competed against eight other finalists from England, Scotland and Wales in front of a live audience at the prestigious HRC Show at ExCel London.

The theme of this year’s competition was ‘Celebrating Our Sustainable Future’ and the focus was on the creative use of sustainable ingredients that need to be incorporated more into daily food consumption to drive positive change in the use of natural resources. The chefs also had to create their dishes with the minimum of food wasted.

As part of their preparations, Gordon and the other finalists attended a mentor day where the team of judges got a first look at the finalists’ dishes and provided constructive feedback to take on board for the live cook off.

Gordon and the other contestants had just 90 minutes to produce three dishes from scratch: a seasonal plant-based starter, the use of organic chicken for the entrée and a rhubarb-based dessert. Gordon impressed the judges with his starter of Indian spiced chickpea & lentil bonbon with a raita, carrot and pomegranate salad, pickled cucumber and chilli. His entrée was a thyme baked chicken fillet with a herb and garlic boudin, sweet potato puree, seared yellow carrots, asparagus tips and a madeira jus. Dessert was poached rhubarb with a bee pollen and pistachio crumble, oat tuile, rhubarb fool and gel.

Gordon began his career as a kitchen porter and has worked his up to senior chef positions in restaurants and on-site catering before joining Sodexo in 2022.  Gordon’s first time to take part at this event, but he is no stranger to competition, having taken home multiple medals from Catex and Chef Ireland over the years. Gordon said, “I love entering competitions because it builds your career and raises your game generally. They are also a terrific way to meet other people in the industry. Thanks to John Core and Glen Stewart for the ‘massive’ support, encouragement and mentoring they gave me. The competition was fantastic and the standard amazing. I’ve learned so much and I am going to put that experience to good use for next year’s competition as it’s my ambition to bring home a gold.”

The competition judges included top culinary names: Steve Scuffell, vice president, Craft Guild of Chefs, Martyn Nail, culinary director at the Dorchestor Hotel; Adam Smith, executive chef at Coworth Park, Berkshire; chef consultant Paul Gayler MBE;  Yolanda Stanley MBE of the Pastry Training Company and award-winning pastry chef consultant Sarah Hartnett.

David Mulcahy, food innovation and sustainability director, Sodexo UK and Ireland, said: Congratulations to Gordon on achieving a bronze medal in his first time to enter this competition. Judging all the entries is always difficult when you have such a high calibre of chefs across the business.  The pressure of a live cook off at an industry event where they must perform at their best in front of not only some highly skilled and successful chef judges but also in front of their peers is something that will put them in good stead for future competitions as well as their day-to-day jobs. Every year our chefs put their all into the competition and we want to thank them all for the time and effort they took to enter.”

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