28 October 2016

Loughborough College’s Darren Creed has won a bronze medal after battling the world’s top chefs at the 2016 International Culinary Olympics.

The chef lecturer was asked to compete for team GB and was supported by students Daniella Bromley, Emily Bucknall and Rebecca Brooks, who earned themselves the coveted spot after winning national gold at the prestigious Country Range Student Chef Challenge in London.

Loughborough College Hospitality Lead Darren joined the Craft Guild of Chefs Great Britain line up, backed by the trio, as they went head to head with 2000 chefs from 40 countries over five days of competition in Erfurt, Germany.

For the Programme Culinary Art, Darren was challenged to create four canapés plus a five course Wedding Breakfast festival menu.

The canapés included Pork Ragout, radish and mustard; Monkfish, curried cauliflower, spring onion and curry aioli; Tuna Carpaccio, goats curd mousse and onion ash and Chicken Sausage, wild mushroom farce and shallot compote.

The menu featured Breaded Pig Cheek, cider jelly, smoked bacon and pineapple jam; Smoked Chicken Pate, pickles, smoked egg yolk puree, wasabi, viola; Poached Langoustine, risotto, cookies, capers, pine nuts, pancetta; Slow-cooked Leicestershire Veal Loin, braised potato, baby turnips, heritage carrots, trumpet mushrooms, cress, star anise jus and for dessert, Chocolate Truffle, passion fruit and raspberry jellies with vanilla parfait.

Darren said:

“We were competing against the U.S., Australia, U.A.E., countries all over Europe… all rolling up in huge lorries and buses with the faces of their team’s chefs on the side. It was incredibly daunting… but it was an absolutely amazing experience.

“It was a 17 hour journey by road from England to the Culinary Olympics with all our equipment and then very intense after we arrived. Each of the girls was assigned to a different team member as support and Emily was with me so we would be prepping the dishes into the early hours and then snatch a couple of hours’ sleep before getting up at 3.30am.

“We’d arrive at a freezing cold exhibition centre to set up before 5.00am but we were sweating because it was so pressurized. I don’t get easily rattled but I’d be putting the garnishes on the dishes and my hands would be shaking.

“At the end, each chef was called up on stage before the results were announced. It was incredible to even be invited to compete in the Internatinal Culinary Olympics and because of the calibre of the competition I thought I would be very, very happy to even receive a diploma. So when they said I had been awarded a bronze medal I was over the moon.

“I am still on cloud nine. Without a doubt it was the highlight of my career.

“The students always do so well in competition and the girls are talented chefs – I wanted to prove to them I could do it. But the opportunity would never have been there without Emily, Rebecca and Daniella working so hard and winning gold in London so the medal is just as much for them.

“They were the only all-female team competing in London and they won and at the Olympics they were fantastic ambassadors for women in food.

“The assistance they gave Great Britain helped them learn so much and was invaluable to the team – at the end the chefs presented each of the girls with a knife bearing the International Culinary Olympics logo.”

Emily Bucknall said:

“I was just grabbing sleep wherever I could to keep my energy levels up and stay focused. But it helped to have a rush of adrenaline when we finally presented the food.

“We talked to chefs from China, the USA, Cyprus… it was unbelievable and so inspiring to see their work.  The scale of the competition was incredible.

“It was amazing for us all to support the British team and watch everyone’s creations coming alive – and for once to be the ones doing the calming down other people’s nerves.

“After he has spent so long helping us, it was great to assist Darren and I really enjoyed seeing him bring all his expertise to his dishes.

“When I was waiting for his results I was biting my nails down. Suddenly I knew how he feels when he takes us to competitions. They said ‘bronze’ and it took a second to sink in but it was such a proud moment.”

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