In this competition, adult home cooks submit signature recipes to showcase their skills and creativity. The national cook off took place on Thursday 30 March 2023 at The Studio in Lincolnshire.
Our End-Point Assessment Officer for hospitality apprenticeship standards, Tracey Dickinson, was there on the day. Here are her reflections on the event.
Calm cooks create relaxed atmosphere
I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to attend the Keen Home Cooks competition alongside my colleague Mariama Dibba Manka, Brand Officer.
Upon on arriving at The Studio, I was greeted with a warm welcome from Naomi Blanchard, Marketing Communications Manager at Dupree International, who manage the ICG competitions. After enjoying a lunch supplied by The Olive Branch, another ICG supporter, the competition got underway. It was to be one of the most memorable experiences of my career so far.
Two separate kitchens were provided for the competitors. These were fully equipped with all the equipment they needed to create their magical dishes, but also had a warm homely feel that made being a spectator a relaxing and enjoyable experience.
Live footage of the competitors cooking up their culinary delights was also broadcast on several screens throughout the building, ensuring none of the action was missed.
If the cooks were feeling the pressure, they certainly didn’t show it. Some took advantage of the lovely garden surroundings to soak up the sun. Even when some saucepans clattered onto the floor after falling off a shelf, the competitors stayed calm and collected as if nothing had happened, and the room was tidy again within seconds.
If the cooks were feeling the pressure, they certainly didn’t show it.
Glowing feedback for high-quality dishes
I was jealous of the judges, Lesley Waters and her team, who had the pleasure of tasting the many mouth-watering starters, mains and desserts. Their task of deciding the overall winner would be a challenge!
As the presentations were made at the end of the day, all of the lovingly prepared dishes were on display. The tension was almost unbearable as the judges used words like “impressive”, “flawless” and “creative” as they provided feedback to each cook. Finally, Shaun Hall was announced as the winner, and he thanked all in attendance for their support and took away some amazing gifts.
Passion for catering shines through
I had some interesting conversations with others in attendance. We were able to speak directly to the judges, while Andy from Teflon kindly surprised me and my colleague with a lovely new saucepan each to take home at the end of the day.
Julie, who owns ‘The Studio Loft’ where the event took place, inspired me with her stories of previous competition winners, James Ganderton – born in my hometown of Loughborough – and Joe Smith, who had life-changing experiences as a result of winning.
Paul Dayman, Chef Lecturer at Bournemouth and Poole College, told me about the time he visited the Royal Palace with some of his students and also said that he teaches “life skills, not just culinary skills” to his students. This was most heartwarming to hear. Everyone I spoke to inspired me with their kindness, words of wisdom and expertise in the culinary sector.
Watching and interacting with the cooks and all the supporters that day was a truly amazing experience and one that I shall not forget in a hurry. I would feel honoured if given the opportunity to attend the event again next year.
I teach life skills, not just culinary skills.
We’re passionate about supporting culinary talent
As the awarding body of choice for hospitality and catering, BIIAB is proud to support the Inspiring Culinary Generations competitions. We also attended the Aspiring Student Chefs final in January, which you can read about here.
BIIAB is also an End-Point Assessment Organisation for several hospitality and catering apprenticeship standards, including:
- Level 2 Commis Chef
- Level 2 Production Chef
- Level 3 Chef de Partie
- Level 3 Senior Production Chef
- Level 4 Hospitality Manager
You can view all our end-point assessments here.
We also offer a wide variety of hospitality and catering qualifications, which you can browse here.
Browse our hospitality and catering end-point assessments.