The fifth running of RH Hall’s British BBQ Battle competition upped the ante in barbecuing skill and technology.
Set in the picturesque grounds of Blenheim Palace yesterday, the contest saw eight chef finalists compete to become this year’s best ‘barbecuer’ by cooking a three course meal on a Crown Verity BBQ, supplied by RH Hall, within an hour.
The chefs also had to incorporate a sauce from event sponsor Lion Sauces in their recipes. RH Hall’s main supply partner, Smeg, also once again leant its backing to the event.
The programme for the day began with Ben Bartlett, president of the British BBQ Association, giving a barbecuing masterpiece to the assembled crowd.
He was able to demonstrate how a Crown Verity BBQ could help to create 10 different desserts – not a course usually associated with barbecue cooking.
Then the main event was divided into two ‘cook-offs’, with round one seeing the leisure and contract caterers finalists (Logan Lloyd from BaxterStorey and Simon Rapkin from Food Events Ltd) going head to head, alongside the finalists for the pubs, bars and restaurants category (Phillip Hunt from Marston’s Inns and Taverns and Dave Alebon from Stonegate).
In the afternoon session it was the turn of the universities finalists (Ashley Spencer from Westminster Kingsway College and Martin Wheeler from the University of Reading) to cook their three courses at the same time as the hotels final pair (Gerald Quadros from The Lensbury and Matthew Hill from Downhall Country House Hotel).
All eight showed that it was possible to cook various haute cuisine dishes using a Crown Verity BBQ, ably assisted by the RH Hall-supplied Simply Stainless fabricated tables.
The menus and execution were judged by the British BBQ Association’s Bartlett; Bill Verity, president of Crown Verity; Gareth Finney, 2015 BBQ Battle Champion and Jim Eaves of the British Culinary Foundation.
New this year was a People’s Choice award, voted for by attendees.
Food Event Ltd’s Rapkin was voted the victor, thanks to his unusual presentation, which included a dessert presented in an upturned badminton shuttlecock on a badminton racquet.
BaxterStorey’s Lloyd won the leisure and contract caterers award, while Stonegate’s Alebon triumphed in the pubs, bars and restaurants category.
The Lensbury’s Quadros claimed victory in the hotel stakes, but both the universities category and overall winner was University of Reading’s Wheeler.
Over £15,000 worth of prizes were won, provided by the event sponsors.
Each finalist received a Sharp commercial microwave, a Simply Stainless professional chef’s table, a Smeg mixer, BBQ Battle Chefs’ Whites, a full set of Lion Sauces and BBQ utensils.
In addition, as 2016 BBQ Battle Champion, Wheeler won his own Crown Verity BBQ.