Leo, from Michelin-starred restaurant, Simpsons, Birmingham, has been crowned 2021 British Culinary Federation Chef of the Year at an industry Awards Dinner held at University College Birmingham on Monday 18th October.
As the 17th winner of the competition, Leo joins an elite group of past winners and Michelin starred chefs which includes Simon Hulstone, Luke Tipping, Richard Turner, Adam Bennett, Matt Cheal, Adam Handling, Martin Carabott and Ian Musgrave.
Sponsored by Aubrey Allen and Bord Bia, supported by Staff Canteen, Goodfellows and Villeroy & Boch, Leo received the award from Russell Allen, Managing Director of Aubrey Allen, Donal Denvir, UK Manager, Bord Bia and Stuart McLeod, BCF Chairman. As well as the trophy, commemorative plate, framed certificate and a cheque for £2,500, he also won an Irish Beef-inspired visit to Ireland.
Leo impressed the celebrity line-up of judges with three outstanding dishes. Judges included Ashley Palmer-Watts; Sat Bains, Restaurant Sat Bains; Brian Turner CBE; Rachel Humphrey, Le Gavroche; Adam Smith, Coworth Park and Ian Musgrave, The Ritz, previous Chef of the Year winner.
Leo was one of twelve strong chefs to reach the live final cook off. A month before the final, each finalist was sent a video of a Butchery Masterclass from Aubrey Allen’s Academy where the cut of meat for the final was disclosed. All twelve chefs had to produce a three-course meal for two covers in two hours, which centred on using Irish Grass-Fed Beef, Sirloin Flat Iron.
Leo’s winning menu:
Set Truffle Custard, BBQ Miatake Mushrooms
Jerusalem Artichoke, Truffle Sauce
Roasted Flat Iron of Irish Beef, Roscoff Onion
Black Garlic, Spinach, Pickled Mustard Seed Sauce
Caramel Souffle, Banana and Lime Ice Cream
Runner-up was Matt Nicholls, Cheal’s of Henley-in-Arden and in third place was Cleverson Cordeiro from The Frog by Adam Handling.
Competition organiser and BCF President Peter Griffiths said, “This competition continues to attract some of the industry’s best. Due to the pandemic, this competition which should have taken place in April 2020, has been a long time coming. We have witnessed some terrific and innovative cooking across the three courses. The talents of the finalists really shone in their finished dishes. They were a credit to themselves, the industry and the British Culinary Federation Chef of the Year 2021.”
Matthew Ramsdale Chester Grosvenor
Matthew Nicholls Cheal’s of Henley-in-Arden
Leonidas Kattou Simpson’s Restaurant, Edgbaston
Martin Hodgetts University College Birmingham
Harvey Perttola Private Chef
Robert Broome North Hertfordshire College
Luciano Lucioli Private Chef
Robert Marshall The Square Peg, Tunbridge Wells
Conor Bird House of Commons
Cleverson Cordeiro The Frog by Adam Handling
Mehdi Lahmadi The Latymer Restaurant
Gary Kilminster Essential Cuisine