The Vegetarian Society’s cookery school, Cordon Vert, is pleased to announce the finalists for its Chef of the Future 2013 competition. The live final, on Wednesday 8 May, will see four contestants from Staffordshire, Yorkshire, Hampshire and Suffolk battle it out to produce a three course meal, plated for four people, within three hours.

Alex Connell, Principal Tutor at the Cordon Vert, said, “We set out to find fresh, innovative dishes that celebrate quality food which is able to hold its own for all audiences – vegetarian and meat eater alike. The finalist’s menus certainly do this. And, last year’s winner Chef Gary Ashley returns to try and retain his title of Cordon Vert Chef of the Future.”

Finalists and menus

Gary Ashley – Yateley Manor School, Hampshire, Chef of the Future Winner 2012
Spiced butter bean pattie, sweet chilli, lemongrass and soy
Sri Lankan sweet potato, cauliflower and spinach curry, cashew and coconut milk
With saffron and cardamom rice, cumin and garlic flat bread

Mango, lime and cardamom panna cotta with anise poached pears and sesame and vanilla tuille

James Tudor – Keele Hall, Keele University, Staffordshire

Tortellini of Staffordshire organic wild garlic cheese and woodland mushrooms, celeriac foam and truffle oil

Smoked tofu with Moroccan spiced sweet potato, wilted spinach, tomato and tamarind sauce

Pear soufflé with dark chocolate ice cream, pistachio tuille

Jonathan Tite – The Showroom, Sheffield, Yorkshire

Warmed watercress and nettle panna cotta with early summer salad

Polenta and asparagus ballotine with Barncliffe brie, seared asparagus tips, fondant potato, pickled wild mushrooms and shallot jus

Rhubarb and custard baked Alaska ginger tuille and rhubarb and stem ginger syrup

Natasha Koncewicz – Suffolk

Goats cheese and parsnip ice cream served on a seeded cone, blackberry vinegar topping and roasted nut crumble

Surf and turf – Tofu and butternut squash rings with a laver and oatmeal pudding on a bed of samphire, herb duchess potatoes, tempura sea kale stalks and carrot caviar, served with a tarragon and garlic hollandaise sauce

Chai spiced pear and almond soup with gold dusted rose petal mochi

The judging panel consists of Alex Connell, Cordon Vert Principal Tutor, Jane Hughes, Cordon Vert Tutor, food writer and editor of the Vegetarian magazine, Mike Haddow, Group Executive Chef – Shire Hotels and Thwaites Inns of Character, Robert Higginson, Sous Chef Dettoris Restaurant – Cresta Court Hotel, Altrincham.

The Cordon Vert School has an unrivalled reputation for excellent and innovative vegetarian cuisine, drawing on a variety of international flavours and ingredients reflecting current trends in world cuisine with fresh and imaginative ideas. For more information on professional and leisure courses visit