CARLUKE chef Peter McKenzie has been awarded the title of Coeliac UK’s Gluten-free Chef of the Year.
Mr McKenzie, head chef for South Lanarkshire Council, received the award from two-Michelin-starred chef Raymond Blanc at a special presentation in his award-winning restaurant and hotel, Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons in Oxfordshire.
This year’s competition, which was run in association with the Institute of Hospitality, had two categories – Gluten-free Chef of the Year for professional chefs and Up-and-Coming Gluten-free Chef of the Year for catering students.
The competition, to design a three-course gluten-free meal, was launched earlier this year to raise awareness and highlight the need for increased provision of gluten-free menu options for the 1 in 100 people in the UK with coeliac disease.
Mr McKenzie wins a one week placement at Gleneagles with two-Michelin-star chef Andrew Fairlie, a trophy from Coeliac UK and a signed copy of Raymond Blanc’s latest cookery book.
The standard of entry was extremely high but it was decided that Peter’s entry stood out above all others, with a menu of fillet of red mullet, breast of pheasant and vanilla and basil panacotta.
Mr McKenzie has worked at many hotels across Scotland and England but for the past three years has been based at South Lanarkshire Council headquarters, Almada Street, Hamilton, where he is responsible for three kitchens at the council headquarters catering for everything from breakfasts to buffets and banquets.
He said: “I am trying to put an end to the myth that local authority catering is just pies, chips and peas. I entered this competition not only to get recognition for the council, but also help raise awareness for special dietary requirements. I strongly believe that people with coeliac disease should be able to enjoy tasty food without having to feel it is a burden to ask for gluten-free options.”
Raymond Blanc supported the recipe competition and judged the entries, saying: “I was really impressed by the quality and attention to detail displayed in the entries for this competition and congratulations to all the winners. Although more common than many people realise, the condition is not taken seriously enough by far too many chefs. A wide range of gluten-free sweet and savoury recipes can be created by anyone and we all need a few really good gluten-free recipes in our repertoire. Each of my businesses has for a long time been catering for people with coeliac disease.”
Source: Hamilton Advertiser
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