News Ticker

Celebrating culinary excellence: Essential Cuisine and Lumina welcome National Chef of the Year top three to Liverpool, with Paul Askew

Liverpool, renowned for its vibrant culture and rich history, this week played host to an extraordinary culinary adventure organised by Essential Cuisine, part of the Solina Group and Lumina. This exclusive trip brought together the top three from the 2023 National Chef of the Year competition, for an unforgettable exploration of Liverpool’s gastronomic delights.

The agenda was meticulously crafted to showcase the best of Liverpool’s food scene while providing ample opportunities for learning, networking, and of course, indulging in exquisite cuisine.

The journey began with a special lunch at Barnacle Kitchen set within Duke Street Market, curated by none other than chef Paul Askew, a culinary maestro celebrated for his innovative approach to British cuisine who is Chef Patron of The Art School. From the moment the meal commenced with a selection of local beers, chef-suggested Castorani wines, and refreshing soft drinks, it was clear that every detail had been carefully considered. The sharing snacks, including marinated olives, Ward’s fish cod cheek pakoras, Jerusalem artichoke cheesy chips, and Merguez sausage in honey and chives, set the tone for an afternoon of indulgence. The pièce de résistance emerged in the form of slow-cooked Middle Eastern spiced Lumina Lamb, accompanied by vibrant salads and freshly baked flatbreads. As the meal drew to a close, guests were treated to a decadent finale in the form of a classic Liverpool tart, accompanied by vanilla-infused clotted cream and a shot of Toxteth Limoncello, a fitting tribute to Liverpool’s culinary heritage. Each dish served as a testament to Chef Askew’s culinary prowess and commitment to showcasing the best of local ingredients.

With a gracious introduction into Paul’s illustrious career and the ethos underpinning his renowned restaurants, Alex Angelogiannis, Cleverson Cordeiro, Matthew Smith and the wider group were treated to a culinary masterclass, gaining insights into his creative process, as well as learning more about ingredients from headline sponsors, Lumina and Essential Cuisine. The atmosphere was electric as ideas were exchanged, techniques shared, and a deep appreciation for the craft of cooking permeated the room.

The highlight of the trip was undoubtedly the special six course tasting menu, presented on the evening of day one in the opulent setting of the private Moriarty Room at The Art School. Guests were welcomed with the effervescent notes of Charles Heidsieck champagne in the cellars as the anticipation mounted for a culinary journey that promised to tantalise the senses. The dinner commenced with a delicate pan-seared Loch Fyne scallop served in a half shell, followed by a terrine of chalk stream trout, halibut, and tiger prawn, adorned with Claremont Farm asparagus and luxurious sauce bavaroise. The crescendo of flavours continued with the roast breast of Cumbrian salt-aged duck, accompanied by a confit leg parcel infused with pomegranate and orange purée, pistachio, and a sumptuous jus. The main course emerged in the form of an assiette of Lumina lamb, a harmonious medley of pan-roast loin, hay-roast rump, sautéed sweetbreads, confit shoulder, candied baby beets, nestled amidst a bed of pearl barley and luscious Essential Cuisine jus. A pre-dessert palate cleanser paved the way for the grand finale – a crown of fresh raspberry parfait adorned with white chocolate ganache and delicately garnished with lemon balm. Each dish was expertly paired with wines to elevate the flavours – a testament to Paul Askew’s artistry, showcasing the finest local ingredients with imaginative flair.

Paul Askew

In keeping with the theme of local sourcing, the following morning, the journey took a refreshing turn with a visit to nearby farm, Wirral Watercress, where Peter Jones, a third generation market gardener grows and supplies wild rocket, oyster leaf, wild garlic, edible flowers and an array of other speciality crops. After the tour, the team enjoyed a foraged breakfast consisting of fresh bread, bacon, black pudding, asparagus, and watercress – a hearty feast! Here, amidst the fields and fresh country air, the National Chef of the Year top three gained a deeper appreciation for the origins of their ingredients and the importance of sustainability in modern gastronomy.

Fuelled by the day’s adventures, the journey continued with a leisurely lunch at Salt House Bacaro, a beloved restaurant known for its contemporary take on Italian cuisine before the grand finale of the trip – a Gin Lab experience at the renowned Liverpool Gin Distillery, hosted by the wildly humorous character, Andy as he gave playful insights into his world of distillation and mixology. The winners then unleashed their creativity and crafted their own bespoke gin creations. It was a fitting conclusion to a journey filled with inspiration, innovation, and, above all, a passion for culinary arts.

Essential Cuisine and Lumina extend heartfelt congratulations to the top three finalists of the National Chef of the Year competition: Alex Angelogiannis, Cleverson Cordeiro and Matthew Smith. National Sales Manager at Essential Cuisine, Howard Beasley added, “Your dedication, talent, and culinary prowess have truly set you apart, and we eagerly anticipate the culinary delights you will continue to bring to the world. A special thanks to Chef Paul Askew and his team for orchestrating such an incredible culinary experience. Your passion for food, commitment to excellence, and generous spirit have left an indelible mark on all who had the privilege of partaking in this unforgettable trip.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


Subscribe To Our Newsletter
Subscribe to our email newsletter today to receive updates on the latest news, tutorials and special offers!
No Thanks
Thanks for signing up. You must confirm your email address before we can send you. Please check your email and follow the instructions.
We respect your privacy. Your information is safe and will never be shared.
Don't miss out. Subscribe today.
WordPress Popup