18465Yarm School chef Greg Wallace has scooped gold in the industry equivalent of BBC’s Masterchef, after making it into the final at the eleventh hour.

Greg took the top spot in the Sodexo National Salon Culinaire industry catering awards after impressing judges during the live contest, held at Ascot Racecourse, with his dish.

His plate of guinea fowl breast, drumstick and rillette, served with morel mushrooms, potato fondant, liquorice leeks and fowl emulsion along with a dessert of Cox’s apple tarte tatin beat off tough competition from head chefs working in prestigious school and industry.

Greg also picked up a silver award for his pasta dish. Meanwhile, his wife Wendy, who also cooks at Yarm School, won silver awards for her long rib of beef with peas and rice and a chocolate soufflé. She took bronze for her vegetarian dish, a white bean and potato croquet with textures of beetroot.

Greg, who joined Yarm School as head chef at the start of this year, said: “Hundreds of people entered and only ten were chosen to cook in the live show. Originally, I was on the reserve list and I was only brought in at the last minute. You had to cook guinea fowl but you could do anything with it that you wanted. I only tried out the dish twice before the competition.

“The live show was very much like Masterchef. The judges were wandering around questioning you about what you were cooking, your recipe and what techniques you were using. They even checked the bin to make sure you hadn’t left too much meat on the bird carcass. There were also a couple of hundred people watching so it was nerve wracking.

“Wendy and I entered five classes so we were thrilled to bring home five medals.”

Greg will be heading to London on Tuesday (Nov 24th) to pick up a certificate of recognition .

Sodexo is the contract caterer for Yarm School. Its awards are open to professional and amateur cooks and, this year, attracted more entries than ever before.

Greg started his career as a Chef for the Armed Forces where he worked for three years. He quickly progressed to the position of Sous Chef for a range of hotels, including the Worsley Arms Hotel which boasts two AA Rosettes. Greg joined Marco Pierre White’s Criterion Theatre restaurant as Senior Chef De Partie before moving onto head chef roles in restaurants and hotels around the country.

David Dunn, Headmaster at Yarm School, said: “I’m delighted that Greg and Wendy have done so well in this national competition. Both are a credit to the school and Greg has worked wonders with the menu since starting here earlier this year. He emphasises healthy and well balanced meals that are both nutritious and delicious.”

David Mulcahy, craft and food development director, Sodexo UK and Ireland, said: “Competing is a great way to develop a chef’s skill set and I hope everyone who took part gained valuable experience, which will progress them in their career. The level of culinary skill gets better with each passing year and I was delighted to see so many people taking part, both our professional chefs and those who were having a go for the day. Congratulations to everyone who took part.”

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