Sodexo Ireland celebrated its best-ever result in the Sodexo UK and Ireland Chef of the Year Grand Final at Hotelympia in the NEC Birmingham, when Nicky Reid, Sodexo Ireland’s 'Chef of the Year', pictured left with David Mulcahy, craft and development director, Sodexo UK and Ireland, won a silver medal in his first time to enter the competition.
Nicky, who is executive chef at Almac, Craigavon, Co. Armagh and lives in Lisburn in Co. Antrim, impressed the high-profile judging panel with his starter of Kohlrabi linguine with prosociano and black truffle pesto, followed by an entrée of hake with a risotto nero, langoustines and fennel while his dessert was a chocolate truffle tart with kumquat and bergamot icecream.
A delighted Nicky said, “I’m just over the moon with my result and it was fantastic to compete at such a high level. Preparing and cooking three top class courses of two plates each in a 90-minute timeframe is challenging enough outside the heat of competition, so I practised every day for two weeks beforehand so that everything was fresh in my mind. It kept me strong, focused and prevented the inevitable competition nerves from hampering my performance on the day.”
The competition judges, which included well-known TV chefs Cyrus Todiwala OBE, NL and James Tanner, complimented Nicky on his cooking techniques, skill and use of ingredients.
Julianne Forrestal, executive craft development chef for Sodexo Ireland, said, “Winning the Chef of the Year title for Ireland last September was just the first step in a six-month journey that culminated at the Grand Final in March. Nicky attended a mentoring day and a chocolate workshop in the UK with Michael Egan, our head chef at VHI and a member of the Panel of Chefs in Ireland, where his proposed competition dishes were reviewed, deconstructed, refined and finessed with Michelin-starred chefs. The focus is on continual learning and development so it’s a fabulous experience for any chef.”
Nicky was assisted by David Fountain, group executive chef at PayPal Ireland, two-time winner of the Sodexo Ireland Chef of the Year title and seasoned competitor in the UK and Ireland Grand Final.