Ben Champkin Wins Kikkoman Masters Chefs Competiton

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 5th October 2015
Ben Champkin has been awarded first prize in Kikkoman Masters Chefs Competition today at the Restaurant Show 2015.ben Ben Champkin, of L’Enclume, and previous Young National Chef of the Year, battled against eight finalists to create a two course menu for a panel of judges, where each dish had to contain Kikkoman Soy Sauce as a compulsory ingredient alongside meat or fish in either course. Junior sous chef at Compass Group UK & Ireland's Chertsey HQ, Craig Bateman, was presented with a runners-up prize, alongside Fred Wilson, CDP at Collette's in The Grove Hotel. The chefs were competing, not only to showcase their talent, but to win a seven day working holiday to Japan, and £1,000 spending money. Ben is ecstatic about winning this year’s competition; "I am over the moon, I feel fantastic! What a great prize and a great day, everyone's dishes were amazing. It's very hard in a competition to use Kikkoman Soy Sauce and to incorporate it into a dish because it is very strong, but I think I executed it well which paid off." “I am very excited to see a different culture in Japan, it's going to be fantastic to open up my eyes to a different scene of food and take as much information as I can in." After a 13 year break, the Kikkoman Masters Competition returned to the UK this year for an official re-launch, and the judges reflect this prestigious event; Michelin-star restaurateur and Kikkoman ambassador, Simon Hulstone of The Elephant in Torquay, David Mulcahy, vice president of Craft Guild of Chefs, Stefan Chomka, editor of the Restaurant Magazine, chef Brian Turner CBE, Scott Hallsworth of Kurobuta and Joe’s Oriental Diner and Mr Bing-Yu Lee general manager of Kikkoman UK.ben2 Simon Hulstone competed in the 1998 Kikkoman Master finals and has been working as a Kikkoman ambassador for the last three years. He helped the judges to compile the original shortlist of chefs from all of the entries received this year, and was amazed by the reception the competition received this year. “It helped that the prize was so big this year, I want to go to Japan! During the shortlisting stage, we were looking for people to think outside the box and not make sushi rolls, because instantly when you think of soy sauce you think of Asian food" Simon explained, “Everybody we chose to be in the finals used the sauce the way we would have liked to have seen it be used. They all hit the brief correctly, and there were 16 fantastic dishes which we saw Kikkoman was the integral part of it. Only afterward we saw they were from eight fantastic establishments and each chef has a good reputation. If we get a good winner from today it'll only go from strength to strength next year!" To achieve this year’s theme ‘Modern European’, Ben served an adaptation of L’Eclume’s Penny Bridge Dexter, alongside oysters with soy and ice plant as a starter, and Cornish monkfish, miso, radish, and Hen of the Woods as a main course. "It's really opened my eyes, having to use this ingredient that I wouldn’t normally use, but if you use it right it can really pay off, and you can see that from everyone here." Kikkoman is the world’s leading soy sauce manufacturer, who create the multi-purpose seasoning, Kikkoman Soy Sauce. The sauce only contains four ingredients; soybeans, wheat, salt and water, which makes it a popular ingredient in a range of dishes, especially within Western style cuisine. By Katie Pathiaki

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 5th October 2015

Ben Champkin Wins Kikkoman Masters Chefs Competiton