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A talented Sodexo Prestige chef has created a big noise when he turned up to take part in a cookery competition – with 40 of his own pots and pans. Despite raising a clangour, and a few eyebrows, Tom Beauchamp eventually walked away with first prize.
Tom revealed how he used every one of the 40 metal saucepans during the 90 minutes it took to prepare a three course feast which included a hake and pickled surf clam starter, pork with apple fondant and parsnip puree main course and a stunning chocolate tart dessert.
“People were amazed by the number of pots and pans I turned up with,” lauged Tom. “Some of my rivals brought their own specialist equipment, like water baths or ice cream makers. But I knew what I would really need would be all of my trusty saucepans – and I used every one of them.
“This is the first time I’ve ever taken part in a competition, so I was really pleased to win the Scottish heats, even though it did leave me with a huge pile of washing up.
“Now I’ll be taking part in the UK finals and I’ll be taking even more pots and pans with me, because there were a couple of others I could have done with on the day.”
Tom is the event development chef with Prestige Venues and Events, the event catering arm of catering giant Sodexo, working regularly with the exclusive catering partners at Dundas Castle. His team have also prepared mouth watering menus for VIP guests at the Open Golf championship, at the National Museum of Scotland and a host of other venues.
His competition debut came during the Sodexo Scottish Chef of the Year competition, where he was up against the cream of the company’s kitchen talent, who cover a broad spectrum of sectors providing catering expertise in airports, offshore facilities, schools and colleges, hospitals and a wide range of workplaces and venues.
Before joining Sodexo, Tom worked for celebrity chef Raymond Blanc at his double-Michelin starred restaurant, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saison and also with Andrew Fairlie at his renowned restaurant at the Gleneagles Hotel.
It was during those years he was taught the discipline of using a new pan for every sauce, puree and paste he prepared – training came in useful during the competition held at Motherwell College.
Each of the competitors were given just 90 minutes to deliver dishes which had to feature a hake starter, pork main course and a Callebaut chocolate dessert. Judges included renowned chefs Joe Queen, considered one of Scotland’s greatest food ambassadors and Gordon Leitch, senior lecturer at Motherwell College.
Stephen Frost, executive chef at Sodexo Prestige, who put Tom forward for the award commented: “It’s fantastic to see what Tom was able to achieve with the ingredients provided. He has a passion and flair for using fresh, everyday ingredients and turning them into high quality cuisine for any occasion.
“He uses these skills throughout the business on a daily basis whether it is creating a menu for 200 at a wedding or for an intimate medieval banquet for six.
“The entire Prestige Venues and Events team wish him the best of luck in the national finals and hope he can impress judges once again as much as he has impressed everyone who is lucky enough to experience his unique, culinary techniques.”
Tom will now compete with the other UK finalists at Hotelympia, Excel, London on April 30 to become the overall Sodexo Chef of the Year.