More than 800 competitors went head-to-head at Sodexo’s annual Salon Culinaire at Ascot Racecourse this week (12 October).

Live and static culinary competitions, a street food challenge, the National Barista Challenge, an innovation tent with SME suppliers and live demonstrations from celebrity chefs were all part of the show as around 1,500 people descended on the Berkshire venue.

Lea Eastman-Thompson and Sarah Wade from the Independents by Sodexo’s contract with LVS Ascot claimed the overall best in show prize for their entry in the static three-course plated category. Independents by Sodexo development chef Daniel Trace won overall live best in show for his entry in the Grand Prix category.

The inaugural safety and hygiene competition was won by Lee Moxon, catering manager at the Sodexo Corporate Services contract with Conoco Philips in Lincolnshire.

Alex Davis from Southampton Solent University won the National Barista Challenge.

James Tanner, Michelin-starred Daniel Galmiche and Alyn Williams were among chefs performing live demonstrations on the day.

Sodexo Schools won the culinary team challenge, an inter-segment live competition to create a three-course meal which took place at Ascot on Tuesday evening (11 October).

David Mulcahy, Sodexo craft director and Salon Culinaire organiser, said: “Once again the day has been a great of example of the culinary excellence and talent we have at Sodexo. Competition is the best way to develop as a chef, and Salon Culinaire gives our employees a fantastic platform to develop their skills.

“Huge thanks goes to everyone involved who came together to create such a buzz on the day: we had 70 judges from inside and outside Sodexo led by executive chef at the House of Commons Mark Hill, 100 suppliers who sponsor the event and exhibit their latest products, in particular Lockhart who are central to putting on the show, and to all the clients and well-wishers who came along on the day to lend their support.”

Sean Haley, Sodexo UK & Ireland regional chairman, said: “Sodexo provides a diverse range of services to clients, but central to that is food. When you come to Salon Culinaire you get an insight into the commitment and talent of our chefs. It’s an excellent way to raise the bar and share best practice across the business, which will ultimately benefit our clients and customers.”

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