Hilton Worldwide Names Middle East & Africa Culinary Champion
Hilton Northolme Seychelles Resort & Spa delights judges with culinary expertise at inaugural competition
Dubai, UAE 23 November 2011 - Following tense competition among Hilton Worldwide’s finest kitchen talent in Middle East & Africa, a panel of top industry and lifestyle media judges named Executive Chef Grant Parry and Sous Chef Steven Gendron, from Hilton Northolme Seychelles Resort & Spa as the Hilton Worldwide Middle East & Africa Culinary Challenge winners, 2011.
Simon Lazarus Grant Parry Steven Gendron Rudi Jagersbacher Knud Bundgard
Three teams, shortlisted from over 40 entries from Hilton Worldwide hotels in Middle East & Africa, took part in the grand final at Hilton Dubai Jumeirah and battled it out to create two two-course appetiser and main course menus.
The teams’ first challenge was to cook their original entry submission, while the second was designed to get the creative juices flowing, as the teams dipped into a ‘black box’ of surprise ingredients and were asked to serve up their most imaginative offering to the judges.
Those with the tough job of deciding the winners included Lauren Hills, Editor of BBC Good Food Middle East, Saba Wahid, Food Blogger and TV Presenter, Hugh Sato Gardiner, Head Chef of Okku Dubai, Essam Abouda, Vice President, Operations, Hilton Worldwide, Arabian Peninsula & Indian Ocean; Knud Bundgaard, Area Executive Chef for Hilton Worldwide, MEA, Rudi Jagersbacher, Area President Middle East and Africa, and Simon Lazarus, Senior Area Director of Food & Beverage, Hilton Worldwide, MEA.
The winning team of Grant Parry and Steven Gendron scored the highest marks for both creations across a range of testing criteria including presentation, innovation and of course taste. Judges were particular impressed with the team’s black box surprise dish which included an appetiser of panfried red mullet with clams, sweet potato and beetroot vinaigrette and a main course of pigeon, mushroom a la crème and roasted lamb with eggplant caviar.
Simon Lazarus, Senior Area Director of Food & Beverage, Hilton Worldwide, MEA said: “Today has been a culinary delight in every sense, and we have particularly enjoyed watching the kitchen masters from our hotels do what they do best, and use their professional skills to create extraordinary food. Well done to our winners and congratulations to all participants who were deserving of their place in the final.”
Winner Grant Parry was delighted to have been named Culinary Challenge Champion 2011, he said: “It is a great honour for myself and Steve to be named winners and we are proud to receive the award on behalf of Hilton Northolme Seychelles. The competition was enjoyable and highly motivating and we are looking forward to celebrating the win with all our kitchen staff.”
The two runner-up teams were Fieras Kouseiha and Subash Kanna, representing Hilton Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and Tarek A Aziz and Said Khandil from Conrad Cairo.
The winner of the dessert and cocktail category was announced last month. Grant Parry from Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa was voted best dessert with his Perl Dan Sesel (meaning Pearl of the Seychelles) featuring mango parfait and jelly, coconut mousse, vanilla sable, star fruit flowers and soursop pearl. Giovanni Bavajee from Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Resort & Spa won the top prize for his RAK Passion cocktail which featured a sprinkling of local ingredients including camel milk chocolate and dates from Ras Al Khaimah. The winning submissions were also served at the finals.
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Hilton Worldwide is the leading global hospitality company, spanning the lodging sector from luxurious full-service hotels and resorts to extended-stay suites and mid-priced hotels. For 93 years, Hilton Worldwide has been offering business and leisure travelers the finest in accommodations, service, amenities and value. The company is dedicated to continuing its tradition of providing exceptional guest experiences across its global brands. Its brands are comprised of more than 3,750 hotels and 615,000 rooms in 85 countries and include Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton Hotels, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton and Hilton Grand Vacations. The company also manages the world-class guest reward program Hilton HHonors®.
Hilton Worldwide currently operates 53 hotels and one convention centre in the Middle East & Africa, totalling more than 15,000 rooms across 17 countries. There are 18 hotels in Egypt, one hotel and one convention centre in Jordan, ten hotels in the UAE, six in Saudi Arabia and one each in Oman and Kuwait, plus another 12 hotels in Africa and 3 hotels in the Indian Ocean.
Hilton Worldwide has a signed development pipeline of an additional 38 properties across Middle East & Africa in the U.A.E, Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Uganda, Nigeria and Cape Verde.