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New chef competition for Chester Food, Drink & Lifestyle Festival

City restaurants hope to taste success in CH1ChesterBID Sous Chef Competition from March 26-28

Chester Food Drink and Lifestyle Festival 2016. Gregg Wallace on Stage during the 2015 final

The culinary skills of Chester city centre’s chefs will be put to the test at this year’s Chester Food Drink and Lifestyle Festival with a new challenge.

Masterchef’s Gregg Wallace and CH1ChesterBID have created the Sous Chef Challenge.

This year’s annual festival, which takes place at Chester Racecourse from March 26-28, will invite restaurants throughout the city centre to put their top chefs forward to compete for the title.

Festival organiser Stephen Wundke said: “Teaming up with city businesses through the CH1ChesterBID team is a major boost for this year’s festival. The CH1ChesterBID Sous Chef Challenge will give city centre businesses the chance to showcase their best dishes to thousands of people and the winner will be decided by MasterChef’s Gregg Wallace, which is fantastic recognition for any business in the food industry.

“Every year we bring a national focus to the city and this festival is the biggest event of its type staged anywhere in the UK. We’re committed to promoting and improving the rich and varied food and drink offer in Chester and this competition will certainly help us achieve that.”

Related: Record numbers attend Chester Food, Drink & Lifestyle Festival

The CH1ChesterBID Sous Chef Challenge will begin with a qualifier being held at West Cheshire College on Thursday, March 3, where the entrants will be reduced down to a final four under head judge Brian Mellor, of Hartshill Cookery School and chief judge of the UK Springboard Competition for Young Chefs. The four finalists will then cook on the main stage on Sunday, March 27 in front of thousands of people with Gregg Wallace deciding the winner.

Events manager at CH1ChesterBID Emily Ghazarian said: “This competition will raise the profile of the food and drink offer in the city and shine a light on some of the outstanding talent we have working right here in Chester city centre.

“We have some of the best and most vibrant restaurants anywhere in the UK and this sector continues to blossom in Chester. The CH1ChesterBID Sous Chef Challenge will help us continue that momentum and promote the fantastic range of restaurants and venues in the heart of the city to thousands of people. We look forward to crowning our champion at the festival this March.”

The competition is open to CH1ChesterBID member businesses and any chef below the level of head chef can enter the competition.

Chefs are encouraged to use local produce within their dish, which must be completed within 45 minutes from start to finish. The winner will be announced on the day by Gregg Wallace and then crowned at the Taste Cheshire Food and Drink Awards to be held at the Pavilion at Chester Racecourse on Wednesday, March 30.

Sponsored by Allington Hughes Law, The Chester Food, Drink and Lifestyle festival is now in its 14th year and with more than 30,000 people expected over Easter. For more information or an entry form for the CH1ChesterBID Sous Chef Competition, call 01244 405615 and ask for Hannah Lucy or email Hannah@tastecheshire.com

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