On the 20th of October ten chefs and their protégés went head to head in a seven hour gastronomical competition that pushed some of the best chefs in the country to the limit.
Michelin starred chef Aiden Byrne, of The Church Green in Lymm and British Grill at the Macdonald Craxton Wood Hotel in Ledsham, mentored his heat winning candidate, Rohan Nevins from the Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel, in the Visionary Dining Chef of the Year 2011 event, which effectively redrew the line in professional national chef training.
Together the pair delivered an exceptional main course of Hare wrapped in chicory and sage to the table of 150 diners at The Lakes Hotel School in Kendal. Not only did the diners enjoy the full 10 course meal, they also took part in the judging on the night, their choices were collated with 13,000 web votes that were counted throughout the duration of the event.
Aiden and Rohan secured a whopping 75% of the votes, crowning them as Visionary Mentor of the Year and Visionary Chef of the Year 2011.
Monica Galetti, from the BBC show Master Chef the Professionals, was on hand to present the chefs with their trophies. Rohan has also won a once in a lifetime trip to Joel Robuchon in Tokyo.
Aiden Byrne comments, “This event helps to raise culinary standards in the UK and encourages new blood to come forward and develop into the food stars of the future. I was confident that our dish would be well received but could never have predicted such a fantastic response from the diners.”
When asked about his protégé, Aiden says, “Rohan has been an excellent chef to mentor and the future certainly looks very bright for him.”
The event also raised £3,400 for Hospitality Action, the Hospitality Industry Benevolent Organisation.
Aiden Byrne was head chef at The Grill at The London Dorchester from late 2006. He was previously Tom Aiken’s head chef at his Chelsea restaurant and has worked with several other high profile chefs such as Paul Rankin and David Adlard.
In addition to Tom Aiken’s eponymous restaurant, Aiden has worked at Pied á Terre in London, Adlard’s in Norwich, Peacock Alley and the Commons in Dublin and Danesfield House in Buckinghamshire.
Most impressively, at the age of 22, Aiden became the youngest chef ever to win a Michelin star, and he carries this prestigious accolade with pride.
In 2008 he brought his remarkable menu to The Church Green in Cheshire, where he continues to serve high quality British dishes that continue to impress diners and inspire budding chefs alike. His hard work paid off and The Church Green now boasts 3 AA Rosettes. His most recent success came when approached by Macdonald Hotels to create an outstanding British Grill in the 4-star Craxton Wood Hotel in Ledsham, near Chester. He rose to the challenge and after a full refurbishment the 120-cover restaurant opened in July 2011 and achieved 2 AA Rosettes within less than 8 weeks of the opening.
Aiden has made numerous TV appearances, including Masterchef, and more recently, The Great British Menu.