Meet the National Chef of the Year 2019 finalists: Glenn Evans

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 26th September 2018

National Chef of the Year 2019 finalist, Glenn Evans is head of food development at casual dining restaurant chain, Las Iguanas

Glenn started off as an apprentice in hotels before he decided to get into contract catering. He started on a career in food development working for Compass Group in the early 2000's, working on recipes for clients like Marks and Spencers. After the recession in 2008, Glenn was unfortunately made redundant and took a job in wholesale at Reynolds Catering Supplies. One of their clients then approached him and offered him a job as executive development chef for the SSP Group - indpendent restaurants at airports and train stations. He then worked for Greene King pubs as food innovation chef, before taking on his current role at Las Iguanas restaurants in 2015. 

Glenn won Development Chef of the Year at the Craft Guild of Chefs awards last year and he was named Executive Chef of the Year at the 2018 Foodservice Equipment Journal Awards. Representing Las Iguanas, Glenn and his team have also entered several national and international food competitions including the National Pizza Awards and the International Cuban Sandwich Festival. 

Why did you enter National Chef of the Year?

Luckily the Managing Director Andy Moss has been very supportive with me in terms of the competitions that we do outside of the business, because he knows that it generates good PR for the company. I’ve learnt a lot about South American cuisine joining Las Iguanas and it’s nice to pay homage. In the semi-final, I think that the flavours, the colours, the vibrancy of the dishes really shone through and it paid off for me!

This is my fifth time this year that I’ve done it – I’ve never got to the final before.  Firstly, it’s a very specific, high-end brief, using ingredients and techniques that I wouldn’t normally use in my day to day job being in the casual dining sector, so it’s a great opportunity for me to learn and test out new skills. If I don’t win this year, I’ll go back again next year and try again. 

How did it feel to get through to the final?

I’m quite used to not hearing my name now, so when that happened I was really shocked! I knew that I had a strong starter and a strong main so the only thing that could have let me down was the dessert.

I sat down to do an interview with some of the judges after I cooked and they were raving about the first two and when it came to the dessert, they weren’t as enthusiastic. I thought, I hadn’t nailed it because it should be a nice balance across all three courses. So standing on that stage waiting for the finalists to be announced, in my head I thought I’d already lost, so that’s why I was very shocked to progress and win my heat for the first time!

Knorr and Unilever Food Solutions are proud to be longstanding sponsors of the National Chef of the Year competition. The foodservice industry is a significant and important part of Knorr’s business and we’re proud to have been by the side of culinary professionals since 1838.

Remember your first day? Watch our campaign film at www.ufs.com/knorr1838

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 26th September 2018

Meet the National Chef of the Year 2019 finalists: Glenn Evans