The quality, variety and versatility of Isle of Man food and drink were showcased at the Isle of Man Chef of the Year and Student Chef of the Year competitions.
The prestigious titles were decided at the Isle of Man Food & Drink Festival at the Villa Marina Gardens yesterday (Sunday).
The competition, sponsored by Robinson’s, sees talented local chefs create imaginative dishes using the finest local produce.
DEFA Member Martyn Perkins MHK, the festival’s special guests Ladies in Pigs and Paul Caisley, manager of the Prospect Terrace branch of Robinson’s, judged the competitions. They were joined for the senior competition by Chris Franklin, Chef Lecturer at University College Isle of Man. (UCM).
In a close-fought contest, Marcus Purcell won the Chef of the Year title, £500 cash, an engraved plaque, £500 for his business to spend on advertising and flowers from Robinson’s.
The chef patron of Noitre Café and Bistro, Laxey, created a ‘world of umami’ using Manx-reared Ballakelly Farm pork, which he says is the best he has cooked with anywhere in the world, and its black pudding.
Sam Kelly, who runs Dine Du Jour, a catering business specialising in private functions, posh picnics, buffets and dinner parties was runner-up with her dish: Bourbon-spiced Manx pork medallion tatin with caramelised apples, smoked, crispy bacon and walnuts served with Manx honey Bourbon sauce.
The Student Chef of the Year title is contested by hospitality and catering students at UCM.
Marcus Boyd, an NVQ level three student who works part time at Jaks Bar and Steakhouse, won the Student Chef of the Year title, £250, a trophy and flowers from Robinson’s.
He cooked a plate of summer lamb with pea and mint puree, summer vegetables and crab apple and mint jus.
Bailey Purcell, son of Marcus Purcell, who works at Noitre Café and is studying for NVQ level two, was a close second with a locally caught Pollock salad featuring red wine-poached egg.
Mr Perkins said:
‘Manx produce is second to none and the Island is becoming a real foodie destination – something that’s enhancing our reputation as a special place to live, work and visit.
‘The competitions show the ever-increasing range, quality and versatility of Manx produce and will hopefully inspire people to use Manx ingredients in new ways in restaurants and cafes and at home.
‘All four skilled chefs put Manx produce to innovative use to create varied and flavoursome dishes and it was exceptionally difficult to select two winners.’
Dave Clarke, Robinson’s event co-ordinator for the festival, said:
‘We have a fantastic and fast-growing range of Manx produce and ingredients available on the Island and we are proud to support local growers and producers and encourage our Island chefs and foodies to cook and make fantastic dishes with the fabulous local produce on offer.’