We recently spoke with Andrew Pantelli, Salon Culinaire Project Director, Montgomery Group. Here's how it went:
Tell us a bit about International Salon Culinaire and Hotel, Restaurant & Catering (HRC)
Salon Culinaire and HRC are both taking place on 20-22 March 2023 at ExCeL London and are two events with a major focus on chefs and hospitality professionals.
Historic chef competition International Salon Culinaire has been running for over 120 years and has seen numerous famous chefs pass through and benefit from the recognition and the challenge of live competition cooking.
HRC is the must-attend trade event for the hospitality and foodservice sector, with sessions from industry leaders including Monica Galetti, James Golding of the PIG Hotels, Clare Clark of CH&CO, Hawksmoor Founder Huw Gott and The Burnt Chef Project’s own Kris Hall!
We also have a fantastic new addition to this year’s event - Chef HQ, curated by Chef Publishing – a stage, networking area and demo kitchen which will see leading UK and international chefs including Paul Ainsworth, Tom Phillips, Frederic Bau, 2022 National Chef of the Year Ben Murphy, Andrew Wong, Niall Keating and the chefs behind The Future Plate.
Why have you partnered with The Burnt Chef Project this year?
We’re delighted that The Burnt Chef Project are continuing their partnering with International Salon Culinaire this year as our 2023 judges sponsor. It’s a fantastic opportunity to raise the profile of the not-for-profit to leading chefs across the UK and to keep the issue of mental health & wellbeing front and centre in the hospitality and foodservice community.
The Burnt Chef Project is passionate about providing mental health & wellbeing support for hospitality professionals, how does this play into your events?
Salon Culinaire has been an amazing opportunity for chefs at all stages of their career to grow their confidence and challenge themselves to be creative and resourceful in unfamiliar environments. Plus, it’s a fantastic way to network with industry peers and stand out from the crowd for future career advancement.
One of our Best in Class winners, Nicola Harper, Head Chef at Compass Group UK & Ireland, said it better than I could:
“Winning Best in Class at the International Salon Culinaire is probably one of the best feelings I have ever felt within my career. For me it’s not about competing against other chefs; you are competing with yourself. International Salon Culinaire for me has developed my skills, my confidence and also it gives you an amazing buzz in and around the kitchen.”
At HRC, mental health & wellbeing will play a part in a number of discussions in the show’s seminar programme, including ‘Recruitment not retention’, ‘How to empower your team’ and a discussion on wellbeing and looking after hospitality teams in The Networking Hub, in partnership with VisitEngland.
What’s new at Salon Culinaire this year?
In addition to long running competitions like Tilda Chef Team of the Year, Sodexo Chef of the Year and the grand final of the Major Chef’s Culinary Challenge, this year we are introducing the NHS 4 Nations Challenge, which is an opportunity for chefs employed by the NHS to compete to create a nutritionally balanced three course meal on a tight budget, the Lecturers Training Challenge, aimed at chef lecturers or chefs in a training role, and we’re continuing new competitions launched in 2022 such as Pub Chef of the Year and the Apprentice Challenge. We’re also delighted that the Craft Guild of Chefs and the British Culinary Federation will be hosting The Phoenix Dinner at ExCeL London on the evening of Monday 20 March, a fundraising dinner to celebrate the hospitality sector and raising money for Kelly’s Cause and Hospitality Action.
Why should chefs come to HRC 2023?
HRC is a one-stop-shop for connecting with fellow hospitality professionals and meet with hundreds of quality suppliers to the hospitality and foodservice sector. Chefs and operators will have the opportunity to explore the latest professional kitchen equipment, taste a wide range of food & drink products, meet with design & décor suppliers and explore the latest front-of-house and back-of- house technologies.
In the Networking Hub, in partnership with VisitEngland, chefs can learn more about creating
sustainable menus with the Sustainable Restaurant Association, training staff to get the most out of kitchen equipment with the Foodservice Equipment Association, mentoring and nurturing future talent, and boosting team confidence with WSET.
The show also takes place alongside IFE, International Food & Drink Event, where visitors can sample thousands of innovative food & drink products and meet directly with brand owners across a wide range of product categories.