Show-Stopping Dishes Produced at Seafood Scotland’s First ‘Around the World’ Themed Semi-Final Competition
Last week, Seafood Scotland hosted the semi-finals of the region’s first Chef Poissonnier of the Year UAE competition and saw four local chefs rise to the top to be awarded a coveted spot in the final.
The highly competitive, action-packed semi-final of Scotland’s first Chef Poissonnier of the Year UAE was overseen by a multi-award-winning judging panel including the Chairman of judges – Chef Wayne Tapsfield, Former business partner and Executive Chef to Gary Rhodes; Managing Director of Ben’s Farmhouse ME Ben Tobbitt and Michelin star culinary extraordinaire and Executive Chef at CÉ LA VI Dubai Howard Ko, and came down to a nail-biting finish. For the battling semi-finalists, it all boiled down to their culinary creativity, innovation and perfectly plated dishes.
Chef Wayne Tapsfield says, “This competition is a unique opportunity for young and emerging chefs, who have not necessarily reached the heights of head chef, to get the chance to showcase their skills. We have a chance to nurture young talent on an international stage and it has been amazing to see them in action. We were blown away by the four finalists and can’t wait to see what they can do in May.”
Howard K, Executive Chef at CÉ LA VI Dubai adds, “What an incredible semi-final! I was looking for the chefs to show us basic fish skills, as well as a strong ability to handle ingredients, show skill in preparation and care, plus a strong technique and precise knife skills. The four finalists went above and beyond our expectations, delivering world-class seafood dishes that showed flair and creativity while showcasing the finest Scottish seafood.”
The highly competitive semi-final round produced four top-scoring chefs, who have now made it through to the ‘live’ finals in May 2022, where a panel of judges will score finalists across several criteria. The finalist chefs will feel the heat even more as the competition is broadcasted extensively across the UAE media.
The Chef Poissonnier of the Year UAE Finalists:
Jorge Rodriguez – Head Chef, Tortuga/Executive Sous Chef, Mina A’Salam Hotel – Madinat Jumeirah
Saraj Mohamad – Demi Chef De Parti, The Duchess
Islam Masoud – Junior Sous Chef, Caesars Palace Bluewater
Nigel Lobo – Group Executive Chef, Stars n’ Bars UAE
The Qualifying Rounds – A Quick Recap
To qualify for the semi-finals, chefs who required to demonstrate their seafood knowledge, skills and creativity via a ‘Knowledge and Skills Challenge’ online. Next, a second-round required chefs to submit a written seafood recipe for a seafood dish of their choice using Scottish salmon, for 4 covers. Here chefs were judged on the range of ingredients used, the imagination of the dish, use of different textures through the dish, balance of flavours, understanding of a dishes regionality, techniques used in getting the best from the ingredients used, and use of ingredients to effectively show acknowledgement of minimum waste whilst preparing.
The Winner Takes All
The live finals in May 2022 will see the winning Chef crowned ‘Chef Poissonnier of the Year UAE’ win a once in a lifetime all-expenses-paid educational trip to the beautiful remote Highlands and Islands of Scotland, an opportunity to perfect their fish skills with the masters of seafood and the world’s greatest fishermen and fisheries, a personal tour of a traditional Scottish smokehouse, a premium personalised Bragard Chefs Jacket and more!