Graham Crump from the University of Warwick is this year’s competition winner. On winning the title, Graham said, “I am totally shocked! I really enjoyed the whole day. It’s been a great event – well organised and with great equipment provided. I had never cooked on a BBQ like the Crown Verity before today and I had to adapt my timings but that was easy, they are incredible and I couldn’t believe how quickly it reached temperature with the hood down – a real experience and I’m looking forward to cooking on my new one! A great day which was thoroughly enjoyable and to win against such competition is amazing”.
The live ‘cook-off’ final took place on 18th June within the beautiful Pleasure Gardens of Blenheim Palace. All the finalists selected to compete at this year’s British BBQ Battle were blessed with the perfect conditions and so too were the crowd of supporters and spectators, with sunny skies prevailing all day.
The day got under way with a BBQ Master class by World BBQ Champion, Ben Bartlett. Ben gave the audience tips on sauces and rubs with Brazilian flavour twists and even created a BBQ cocktail. He said the essence of BBQ’ing was really about going ‘overboard’ with rubs, spices and flavours and creating novelty too.
Spurred on by seeing Ben in action, the first four finalists to cook from the pub category and the club & outdoor/event catering category took their places at the Crown Verity BBQ stations. They each had just 1 hour to recreate and present four servings of each of their 3 courses detailed on previously submitted BBQ menus. The second four chefs from the university and hotels categories competed after the lunch break.
Each cooking session was presided over by the judging panel which consisted of Ben Bartlett, BBQ Champion & President of the British BBQ Association; Chris Basten and Martin Bates from the Craft Guild of Chefs and Bill Verity, President of Crown Verity over from Canada.
Each judge marked the chefs individually on their dishes’ taste, texture and appearance and marks were also awarded for use of the Crown Verity BBQ and hygiene practices.
There was a category winner presented from each sector before the overall Champion, Graham Crump, was announced.
2014 Category Winners
Pub Category Winner: Carol Haime, Shepherd Neame Ltd Runner up: Dave Alebon, The Brasshouse, Birmingham (Stonegate Pubs)
Golf Club & Event Catering Category Winner: Terry Wiggins, House of Commons (Facilities) Runner up: Micky Daly/Stewart Jackson, Richins Park Golf Club
University Category Winner: Graham Crump, University of Warwick Runner up: Matthew Carter, Emmanuel College
Hotel Category Winner: Simon Crannage, Swinton Park Hotel Runner up: James Jefferies, Tern Hill Hall
Ben Bartlett and the other judges presented the final winners and runners up, along with Directors of RH Hall, Ray Hall and Kris Brearley, the day’s main sponsors.
In summing up the competition, Ben Bartlett said “The chefs are all winners for getting to this final. A very high standard of dishes were produced with great flavour profiles and good use of the Lion sauces. There was a good use of skills demonstrated and the versatility of the Crown Verity BBQs was definitely brought to the fore”.
Bill Verity, President of Crown Verity, had the honour of announcing the British BBQ Battle Champion. He said, “There were only a few points dividing the top places. A very, very close competition and exciting day”. He took great pleasure in watching these skilled chefs utilise every cooking surface the Crown Verity BBQ’s had to offer!
Ray Hall concluded, “It was a fantastic day of competition and congratulations to all the winners and special thanks to all the sponsors, including new partners AAK Foodservice (Lion sauces) and Calor Gas. Further thanks to Bill Verity for travelling from Canada for the event and for Blenheim Palace for the stunning venue and Searcy’s at Blenheim for providing the fabulous BBQ lunch on their own Crown Verity”.
All 8 finalists were rewarded with a Sharp LED TV, a Simply Stainless Professional Chef’s table, full set of Lion Sauces and exclusive British BBQ Battle chef’s whites. Graham Crump also came away with a top of the range Crown Verity mcb-36 BBQ and accessories pack, worth £3,000. Prizes, worth £11,000 were kindly provided by leading foodservice equipment supplier RH Hall, the exclusive distributor in the UK for Crown Verity, Sharp and Simply Stainless and AAK Foodservice supplier of Lion Sauces.