Fine Dining Dinner Challenge at Le Cordon Bleu, London

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Culinary school

Rise and shine all finalists! With the college teams and apprentices packed into taxis we travelled from the hotel to Bloomsbury Square, pulling up outside Le Cordon Bleu, London.

With excitement in their eyes, all apprentice and college finalists were ushered inside, sent to change into their whites and taken to the demonstration kitchen. A masterclass then unfolded from Le Cordon Bleu’s expert team Cuisine MasterChef David Duverger, Pâtisserie MasterChef Nicholas Patterson and Wine Development Manager Matthieu Longuere, as they were shown a three course meal, along with wine and service before being told they would have to work as a total brigade to deliver a 5* evening to 60 esteemed guests of Nestlé Professional! 

With the briefing done, the brigade get to work on selecting their Head Chef and maître d', as well as some chefs stepping up to work out of their comfort zone in a front of house role. Some of the team pitch for lead roles, votes are counted and John Howarth, apprentice at Mansion House and Antonia Macfarlane, City of Glasgow College are named as kitchen and restaurant leads respectively. The kitchen and restaurant teams then broke off to put their plans and responsibilities together, with the leads ensuring they would be working in sync. It was then time for the real challenge to begin! With only a few hours to prep and cook all elements of the dishes as well as dress the restaurant ready for service the apprentices and students get to work. A sense of calm set over both areas as individuals went about their tasks under the watchful eyes of the judging team; Chefs Simon Hulstone, Mick Burke, Rory Mitchell and Andy Stacey and on front of house, Alison Gilbert. They say time flies when you’re having fun and it was 18:00 before the finalists knew it, guests would be arriving in just half an hour! Some finishing touches to the restaurant and the team are ready to welcome diners to Le Cordon Bleu with a smile and a glass of champagne.

Soon, the guests are seated and having been given a formal welcome by Le Cordon Bleu they are ready to enjoy their meal. Communication between the restaurant and kitchen is key and with the well-appointed leads running the day it is smooth sailing throughout the entire evening.

The Menu

  • Starter: Blow-torched Mackerel with Seaweed Tartar, Cucumber Consommé Ravioli, Dashi and Yuzu Gel, Pickled Baby Red Onions, Enoki and Celery Cress Salad
  • Main: Lamb Loin with Crust of Panko, Charcoal and Pine Nuts, Lamb Jus, Potato Mousseline, British Asparagus, Grilled Glazed Vegetables and Smoked Garlic Cream
  • Dessert: Rich Chocolate Crémeux with Mango Gel, Chocolate Tuile, Exotic Fruit Bubbles and Pistachio Sponge

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