Issue date: 21 April 2004

ISSUE DATE: 21/04/04

A chef from the catering team at the University of the West of England has won ‘The Ethnic Chef’s Challenge’ a national competition run by The University Catering Organisation and sponsored by Tilda. Leanne Haberfield won the top prize for a mouth watering menu of sesame sticky chicken and sweet and sour chilli sauce with coconut and cardamom wild rice and cucumber salad.

Leanne won £500 of holiday vouchers, a trophy and certificate but most cherished of all a years membership of the Craft Guild of Chefs.

Leanne said, “I am thrilled to win this prize. The best prize is the Guild membership as it’s a really prestigious organisation, all chefs want to be in it and most famous chefs have been recognised through it. I will get the chance to go to the Savoy Hotel in London on 17 July to cook alongside some of the other chefs in the guild who are amongst the top chefs in the country.

“This is the second time I have entered and in 2002 I came second so it’s really nice to win. There were nine people selected from universities all over the UK to cook in the final. We were judged on an application form entry, our choice of menu, cooking methods used, taste and presentation of the food. As the competition was sponsored by Tilda we had to use rice and one of Tilda’s sauces as the basis for the meal.

“I used the sweet and sour sauce but added chilli and other oriental ingredients to spice up the flavour to suit my recipe. I must admit that I did use UWE staff as guinea pigs for this menu during the lead up for the competition!”

Leanne has worked at UWE for five years and is now Team Leader for a group of two chefs and three general catering assistants working in the Felixstowe Court restaurant that serves university staff. Starting at 7am every morning Leanne has to plan in advance to balance work needed to service three menus, a brasserie menu, daily specials and a fine dining menu for special occasions. “We need to be well organised,” says Leanne, “so we plan everything one day ahead so that everything is chopped and ready to cook each morning. This stops things getting too steamy in the kitchen when we are under pressure but I definitely prefer the adrenaline buzz when it is busy.”

Leanne started her work in catering by doing on the job training for an NVQ in Catering at the Bristol Marriott Hotel following a number of jobs in hotels and restaurants in the area.

Jayne Seymour, Food Services Manager at UWE, said “We all feel very proud to have Leanne working with us. It’s such a boost for the entire catering team that we have a chef of national standing amongst us. She deserves ten fold to win this prestigious national prize that reflects her dedicated attitude and talent.”


Editor’s notes

Jpeg visual of Leanne is available from the press office.

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