Lorna McNee from Andrew Fairlie’s restaurant, is the first female winner of Game Chef of the Year

The  Staff Canteen

Lorna McNee, Junior Sous Chef of Andrew Fairlie, was today crowned Game Chef of the Year 2016 following a cook off with nine other chefs from across the UK.

The competition organised by Scottish game processor Braehead Foods has been running for the last five years, and each year the level of applicants keeps getting higher.

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The search to find the UK’s best professional game chef began in August with entries flooding in from all over the UK. Lorna has been working at Andrew Fairlie Gleneagles for seven years now, and it was Andrew and Stephen McLaughlin, Head Chef, who encouraged Lorna to enter the competition.

Lorna said: "The reason I entered was to push and challenge myself into places I wouldn’t usually go and to come out my comfort zone. That’s why competitions like this are so  important to be present in Scotland, as well as England."

Lorna’s starter was roast teal, salad of beetroot, apple, mushroom and warm vinaigrette. For her main course she prepared blue mountain hare, smoked game farce and spiced red cabbage. Paul Gayler noted that Lorna’s ‘menu was well balanced, creative and professionally executed – a winning formula.’

Applicants were required to submit two game based dishes, one starter and one main course with the judges looking for fresh, innovative dishes. This year judges noted that contestant’s dishes were very ‘on trend’, hinting to a new depth to game cuisine. The competition came to an end yesterday, Monday 25th of January, when Lorna was crowned the first woman to win Game Chef of the Year.

Not only has the competition experienced its first female leader but also it’s first female applicants, with two of them making their way to the final.Game Chef of the Year 2016. Adam Thomason of Restaurant Associations and Andrew D’Amery of Delaware North Wembley Stadium, both from London finished joint runners up in the competition.

All 10 finalists each received £100 and had the chance to prepare, cook and present two game based dishes to the panel of judges; Braehead Foods Consultant Chef Paul Gayler MBE, Executive Chef of the Q Hotels Joe Queen and Ian McAndrew of the Academy of Culinary Arts.

Paul said: "This was one of the hardest competitions in recent years, causing many a debate in the judging room. Winning scores were collated with a mere point between them at times; all competitors should be extremely proud of their work and we hope to see them back next year."

As this year's winner, Lorna, has won a once in a lifetime trip to Sweden where she will hunt wild boar, courtesy of Highland Game, as well as three MAC knives courtesy of Continental Chef Supplies.    

>>> Read: The Roux Scholarship winners: where are they now? (part 1)

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 27th January 2016

Lorna McNee from Andrew Fairlie’s restaurant, is the first female winner of Game Chef of the Year