Raymond Cavanagh, head chef at Glasgow Sheriff Court in Scotland, has beaten hundreds of chefs to win the Sodexo Chef of the Year title in a hotly contested competition held at Hotelympia, Europe’s largest exhibition for the foodservice and hospitality industry.

Raymond was one of ten chefs who competed in the final, representing Sodexo’s prestige, healthcare, education, defence and corporate services segments.

As part of the live final cook off, chefs had to prepare and present a three-course menu in 90 minutes in front of an audience of friends, family, colleagues, leading industry figures and even Matt Dawson, former England International Rugby player and Sodexo ambassador for health and wellbeing.

To reach the final, Raymond took part in a segment heat where competitors were asked to prepare a vegetarian starter, a main course using fresh rack of lamb and a Knorr herb puree, and a hot or cold dessert of the competitor’s choice. This was then to be replicated in the final.

Raymond’s winning menu was goats cheese fondant, served with pistachio and orange scone, rocket salad and
caramelised walnuts, followed by best end of lamb served in its own jus, chive mash, Stornoway black pudding stick and a medley of vegetables, finished off with a pineapple tarte tatin, served with passion fruit soufflé and coconut ice cream. He secured the gold medal, awarded by an independent panel of judges.

Raymond has been working for Sodexo for almost 12 years and is head chef at Glasgow Sheriff Court in Scotland, where he is responsible for feeding around 500 jurors, sheriffs and visitors daily.

He said: "I was nervous going into the competition, but quietly confident too as I’d spent a lot of time practising. I really wanted to get into the top three this year, so I was thrilled to hear my name called out as the winner. I am extremely proud of this achievement. It would not have been possible without the support I received from my commis chef Hamish McKay, who kept me calm on the day”.

David Mulcahy, craft and food development director for Sodexo UK & Ireland and organiser of the competition said: “Raymond performed fantastically well and is a highly deserving winner. To perform the way he did at Hotelympia, one of the most prestigious culinary events in the UK, in a very challenging competition environment, is testament not only to his vast talent, but also to the support he has been able to call upon during the competition”.

Raymond will now embark on a unique study trip, courtesy of Sodexo, where he will be given the opportunity to develop his culinary skills through a series of training workshops.

A silver medal was awarded to James Davis, chef de partie, Eton College, whilst well deserved bronze medals went to Simon Robertson from Reckitt Benckiser, Gary Hughes, head chef, Transport for London and Ben Dutson, head chef for Prestige Events.

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