Press release

Chef of the Future 2016 finalists

13 June 2016

And the competition is on...


The Vegetarian Society Cookery School is pleased to announce the finalists for its Chef of the Future 2016 competition. The live final, on Tuesday 14 June, will see four contestants from Cheshire, London, Powys and Surrey battle it out to produce a three-course meal, plated for four people, within three hours.

The finalists are Ben Limb, Danaliese Radley, Gavin Kellett and John Walter.

Alex Connell, Principal Tutor at the Vegetarian Society Cookery School, said: “I’m really looking forward to the finals, we have four top chefs each with a professionally crafted menu and, with the defending champion in the final, the expectations are certainly high.”    

Finalists and menus
We asked the finalists how they felt about being in the final.

Ben Limb from Coffee and Kitchen, Cheshire said: “I’m really pleased and delighted that my cooking is being recognised and it’s great for Coffee & Kitchen as it allows me the freedom to do exciting things with food. There is more room for creativity in veggie cooking as blending flavours with vegetables allows more flexibility and more opportunity to create a beautiful plate of food.”
Ben’s menu:
• Artichokes - baby globe and Jerusalem - scorched and marinated with fresh ricotta and a broad bean pesto.
• Salt-baked red beetroot with aubergine with a Puy lentil dressing, giant couscous, pickled apples, almond dukkha and Greek yogurt
• Elderflower pannacotta with a quartet of rhubarb (sorbet, poached, crisp, purée)

Danaliese Radley is a private chef for a family in London, she said: “I am so excited to be in the final of the Vegetarian Society Chef of the Future competition! I entered the competition for the fun of having a creative challenge and the opportunity to meet other chefs and so build my community. I enjoy designing dishes that are full of vibrant colour, texture and flavour; food that is art and is an irresistible invitation to the diner. My food is entirely healthy, it is my aim to prove that elegant, restaurant food can also be nutritious and nourishing.” 

Danaliese’s menu:
• Fragrant Thai sunshine salad - green mango salad with lemongrass and kafir, tamari tofu-tempeh, sweet spicy lychee salsa
• Japanese garden of earthly delights - shiso beet stack, garden sushi roll, baked shiitake sashimi, edamame pate, spiced miso avocado and pink lotus trellis with pickled ginger sauce
• English allotment rhubarb pudding - Rhubarb poached with rosemary served with apricot kernel cream, raspberry chia jam and a star anise crisp

Gavin Kellett is a professional chef, currently working as a relief chef having recently moved to Crickhowell, Powys. Gavin said: “As the current holder of the ‘Chef of The Future’ I wish to defend my title. I have chosen to make my menu gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan, after winning last time having the opportunity to complete the chef’s diploma course, my eyes were opened to all of the amazing and different ingredients available for vegans and vegetarians. I want to push the boundaries of skill, technical ability and flavours to show that everyone, no matter what dietary requirements, can enjoy really great food.”

Gavins’ menu:
• Waldorf Salad - faux pickled apple, rapeseed mayonnaise, walnut crisp, celery, burnt apple purée, poached celeriac, pickled walnut and celeriac remoulade. Served under a glass cloche filled with apple wood smoke.
• Celebration of onion - quinoa and wild garlic stuffed onion, hazelnuts, roasted onion and tofu mousse, charred shallots, caramelised onion purée, burnt leek powder, clove, green onions and oak lichen.
• A Healthier Dessert - no bake chocolate brownie, lemon curd, banana and poppy seed cake, soya milk purée, raw cacao nibs, chocolate and green tea tuiles, organic matcha green tea ice cream and torched banana.

John Walter is a professional chef at Lakeside Restaurant, Surrey University. John said: “I’m proud and excited to be chosen to show how simple, wholesome and tasty vegetables are easily accessible to all.”
John’s menu:
• Scotch egg with curry mayonnaise - coated with dhal and oats with a rapeseed and mustard seed mayonnaise.
• Seasonal harvest plattery - a clever balance of hot and cold, with organic bulgur wheat, shredded beetroot with hazelnut oil and toasted buckwheat, grilled butternut squash, and fresh cherry tomatoes with halloumi.
• Rhubarb and stem ginger charlotte with elderflower - poached rhubarb and ginger syrup steeped boudoir biscuits encasing stem ginger soy whip.

The judging panel consists of Alex Connell, Principal Tutor of the Vegetarian Society Cookery School, Emily Leary an award-winning food, lifestyle writer and John Soonaye, editor of ‘The Vegetarian’ magazine.

The Vegetarian Society Cookery School has a range of courses for the general public and for those working in the catering industry. Courses are designed to increase knowledge and skills in vegetarian and vegan food.  The school is dedicated to teaching small groups in modern training kitchens in Altrincham.
Find out more at or follow the school on Twitter @vegsoc_cookery and Plus follow the school at

Notes for editors
•For more press information please contact Su 0161 925 2012 email mobile 07973 108 165
.•For images please contact Su
•A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish or crustacea, or the by-products of slaughter


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The Vegetarian Society of the United Kingdom Limited, Parkdale, Dunham Road, Altrincham WA14 4QG
Registered Charity No. 259358, Registered Company No. 959115 (England and Wales)

Fundraising Regulations