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The Co-Operative Steps Up For A Food Fight

Budding chefs from The Co-Operative go head to head with supermarket rivals

Published on May 28th 2013.

The Co-Operative Steps Up For A Food Fight

TWO budding chefs from The Co-operative Group are preparing to go head-to-head with culinary rivals from other food retailers, including Sainsbury’s and Asda, at a national cooking competition this June.

The star prize is an evening dining with top chef, Michel Roux, at a five star restaurant in the South of France.

Paul Dempsey and Emily Hammond, both from The Co-operative’s Product Development Team, beat off stiff competition from employees across the UK to be crowned winners of The Co-operative’s Cook-off Challenge 2013, which saw sixteen people shortlisted after judges were inundated with recipe ideas.

Paul and Emily will now go on to represent the business at the semi-finals of the National Grocery Aid Cook of the Year competition, where the star prize is an evening dining with top chef, Michel Roux, at a five star restaurant in the South of France.

And Manchester Confidential’s very own Jonathon Schofield was part of the elite judging panel that chose the finalists, alongside Kate Jones, The Co-operative’s Head of Product Development and Gary Periti, Executive Chef of 1 Angel Square. They were tasked with sampling a starter and main course from each of the four finalists, including Jacqueline Glover and Ben Sampson, who had already passed a series of gruelling rounds.

D80_2468The final dishes gave the judges a real gastronomic feast.

Paul Dempsey created a starter of honey roast salmon with red pepper puree, peppered goats cheese and balsamic reduction, with a main of pistachio crusted spring lamb with Boulanger style fondant potatoes, tapenade, asparagus and peas.

Jacqueline Glover served up a starter of salmon wrapped in bacon served with a stuffed mushroom and garlic ciabatta, with a main of lamb steaks with a red wine jus and smashed Jersey potatoes, vegetable timbale, asparagus and roasted shallots.

Ben cooked a starter of devilled mushrooms on ciabatta and pork, three ways; with spinach, potato puree and rhubarb BBQ sauce for his main. 

Emily went for an Indian theme and dished up a starter of spiced salmon pakoras on a shredded salad with chaat masala and raita with a main course of tandoori chicken kebabs, two ways; with makhani sauce, pudhina chutney and homemade spiced roti breads.

D80_2705Kate Jones, The Co-operative’s Head of Product Development, said: “All our finalists showed they have fantastic taste buds and demonstrated top class culinary techniques. They can all be most proud of the great dishes they created.

“We are absolutely delighted to have Paul and Emily representing The Co-operative at the semi-finals of the National Grocery Aid Cook of the Year competition. Their dishes combined lots of seasonal, British ingredients in an innovative and inspirational way and we know they will do us proud.”

The National Grocery Aid Cook of the Year semi-final competition takes place on 11 June in Leeds.






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