Sodexo Hospitality Head Chef Ronnel Nulud has been named as Sodexo Chef of the Year 2020 in a live cook off at this year’s Hotel, Restaurant and Catering (HRC) event held at ExCel London.

Ronnel with his Sodexo Chef of the Year 2020 trophyOn 4 March, Ronnel represented Sodexo’s Energy & Resources business segment, making an impression on the competition judges for his take on a plant forward menu using ‘Future 50’ ingredients.  

The ‘Future 50’ are ingredients identified by Sodexo’s partners, WWF and Knorr, that can help boost the nutritional value of meals while reducing the environmental impact of our food supply. Sodexo has already successfully adopted recipes across the UK and Ireland that incorporate a selection of the Future 50 Foods, aligning with a growing consumer demand for healthier meal options that taste great and are responsibly sourced.

Receiving gold best in class for his menu, Ronnel scored highly for his presentation and use of sustainable ingredients within his menu. Ronnel’s menu consisted of a plant-based starter of Asian steamed dim sum featuring ‘Future 50’ ingredient soybeans, a main course of his famous whole free-range chicken adobo and a dessert of British poached pears with lemon sponge cake and a pistachio crumb.

Andy Clarkson, Catering Manager from Aiwal Barracks represented Government & Agencies and was awarded runner up by the judges with an additional gold award.

In total, nine chefs from across Sodexo UK & Ireland competed against each other in a live cook off watched on by supportive colleagues, friends and family winning awards for their participation – two gold, three silvers and four bronze. In the lead up to the final, the finalists competed in individual heats as well as participating in workshops and a mentor day hosted by Sodexo client and event sponsor Unilever. The events crockery was kindly supplied by competition sponsor Lockhart Catering Equipment.

Ronnel was presented with a trophy for winning the prestigious competition. As well as winning the title, Ronnel will have the opportunity to take part in a professional development activity to support his culinary progression and visit a top UK restaurant.

All nine finalists received certificates and medals for their appropriate awards and participation, as well as a personalised chef jacket, a year’s subscription to the Craft Guild of Chefs and an exclusive invitation to a bespoke innovation training workshop. The interactive event will be held in May 2020 and supported by competition sponsors Rational and Vegetarian Express. 

Ronnel Nulud, Hospitality Head Chef, Energy & Resources for Sodexo UK & Ireland said on his win: “I wasn’t really expecting this today. After all our hard work over the past few months, and the competition’s experience as a whole, I feel blessed to have won the 2020 title of Sodexo Chef of the Year. My menu is inspired by my Asian heritage, with the plant-based starter posing quite a challenge for me – I am used to creating dishes with butter and fats – but I rose to the challenge and created my dumplings."

All the other chefs have been very supportive and given me advice to improve my dishes. It’s been a really tough competition, and other people’s skills are very impressive, but it makes me happy to see all these chefs making such an effort. It has been great to work with everybody, and I can’t wait to share the knowledge I have picked up with next year’s competitors.

David Mulcahy, Culinary Ambassador, Sodexo UK & Ireland commented: “We all wish a huge congratulations to Ronnel on winning the title and a massive well done to all those that participated in today’s final."

Ronnel’s dedication to Sodexo’s sustainable future has been demonstrated clearly through his food being delivered to such a high standard. All the chefs this year rose to the challenge of presenting plant-forward dishes, which is a testament to their determination, training and their supportive Sodexo colleagues around them.

“Participating in this competition means that these chefs can proudly stand alongside their alumni and competitors who are continually pioneering Sodexo’s culinary innovation. As an employer, we recognise the importance of these events to inspire and nurture the talent of our people, but also attract the next generation of chefs so they too can take on this Sodexo Chef of the Year challenge.”

Martin Parlow, National Account Manager for competition sponsors Vegetarian Express said:

At Vegetarian Express, we believe the future of food lies in a more plant-based diet. We’re proud to support Sodexo and work with their chefs to provide the best in plant-based, ingredients, ideas and inspiration.

Sodexo Chef of the Year 2020 finalists:

  • Ronnel Nulud, Hospitality Head Chef, Energy & Resources – gold best in class
  • Andy Clarkson, Catering Manager, Aliwall Barracks, Government & Agencies – gold runner-up
  • William Tinkler, Sous Chef, Eton College, Schools & Universities – silver second runner-up
  • Alex Fellows, Head Chef, Woldingham School, Schools & Universities – silver and hygiene award
  • David Humphreys, Development Chef, Tillery Valley Foods, Healthcare – silver
  • Peter Ciszak, Head Chef, Keepers Restaurant at the Royal Academy of Arts, Sports & Leisure – bronze
  • Oliver Keenan, Senior Relief Chef, Paypal, Dublin & Dundalk, Corporate Services – bronze
  • Adam Collison, Head Chef, APL Alderley Park Ltd, Corporate Services – bronze
  • Bruce Morrison, Chef Manager, Voyageur Spirit, Energy & Resources - bronze

Sodexo Chef of the Year 2020 was judged by:

  • Steve Scuffell, Chair of Judges 
  • Paul Mannering, Chef Director, HIT Training
  • Alex Hall, Culinary Director, Unilever Food Solutions
  • Nick Sinclair, Chef Director JSW Recruitment
  • Alyn Williams, Chef and Restaurateur
  • Adam Smith, Executive Chef, Coworth Park
  • Andrew Clarke, Co-founder of Pilot Light 
  • Derry Clarke, Chef Patron, L’Ecrivan restaurant 
  • Andy Voice, Development Chef, Sodexo UK & Ireland 
  • Yolande Stanley, Consultant Pastry Chef 
  • Paul Jervis, Chef Lecturer, Westminster Kingsway College 

Sodexo Chef of the Year 2020 was kindly supported by:

  • Unilever Food Solutions
  • Lockhart Catering Equipment
  • WWF
  • Rational
  • Vegetarian Express
  • The Craft Guild of Chefs
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