NI chef wins silver in Sodexo UK and Ireland competition

Dennis McCarroll (centre) with his silver medal win at the Sodexo UK and Ireland Chef of the Year Competition. He is pictured with David Mulcahy, Sodexo's craft and development director and Steve Munkley, vice-president, Craft Guild of Chefs

Dennis McCarroll from Dundonald in Belfast took home a silver medal in the recent Sodexo UK and Ireland Chef of the Year Competition held at the Great Hospitality Show in the NEC Birmingham. It marks his fourth medal to date at this extremely challenging culinary competition.

Dennis, who is the pastry chef for catering and management services company Sodexo at the Ulster Independent Clinic in Belfast, impressed the judges with his menu of roast cauliflower with parmesan emulsion and black truffle, pesto and krispy kale crumble, followed by loin of lamb, lamb fat carrots, lamb skin crisp with savoy cabbage, celeriac garlic and herb croquette and a red wine jus. His dessert was a white chocolate slider, with a chocolate and blood orange cream, blood orange puree, shortbread and ginger and orange icecream.

Dennis McCarroll said, “The place was absolutely packed, with the biggest audience I’ve ever seen at this competition, but I love that buzz and I always bring a diagram of what each dish should look like and draw arrows from it to remind me what should be on it. In the heat of competition, that wee thing you forget could be the key ingredient for the dish!”

It was Dennis’ fifth time to compete in front of a live audience against the cream of other Sodexo chefs from England, Scotland and Wales and under the watchful eyes of the judges that this year included Michelin-starred Adam Smith, TV star Brian Turner OBE and Andrew Bennett MBE, chair of the Craft Guild of Chefs.

Commenting on his win, Julianne Forrestal, executive development chef for Sodexo said “Dennis is an excellent competition chef and we’re very delighted and proud of his silver medal win. Furthermore, Dennis will be a member of our team at  the Contract Caterers Culinary Challenge at Catex in Dublin at the end of February. We’ve won this competition twice before so we’re aiming for a culinary hat-trick this year.”

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