www.barrowvoice.co.uk - First Publised 1975
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Chef Zac Gudger

Many people will know Zac Gudger from his appearances in Barrow pantomimes. He joined the group when he was ten and has been in every production since. He was also a member of the Youth Theatre, which was formed in 2004 to accommodate all the youngsters who had been attracted to the panto group. He appeared in all their productions too. Having reached the ripe old age of eighteen, Zac can no longer be on stage as a member of the Youth Theatre so he has volunteered to be member of the back-stage management team.

Zac has a love and flair for cooking so on leaving school he went to Loughborough College to do a Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Professional Chefs; he had found his niche. This year, the college decided, for the first time, to enter a team for the ‘Young Restaurant Team of the Year Competition’. The team consisted of Emily Bucknall, Sian Dixon and Zac. The first thing they had to do was draw up a three-course menu and send it off to the competition organisers. The menu was accepted, and they were in the competition, eventually getting through to the final, held in Sheffield. The challenge was to cook and serve an Italian-themed meal featuring parmesan, balsamic vinegar, Kassa Lucka chocolate and Koppert cress. They also had to select appropriate wines to complement the meal and make a speciality coffee to finish. The Loughborough team made it through to the final, as did four other teams drawn from across the country. One of the highlights was that they met, and learned from, top chefs Tom Kerridge, Cyrus Todiwala and Francesco Mazzei. It was a great experience.

When Zac told me what they cooked and served, my mouth was watering. The starter was sundried tomato, spinach and monkfish ravioli with a prawn bisque and parmesan crisps. The main course was smoked, creamed potato puree, Valdarno chicken, fennel, beans, roast shallot petals with a potato onion cream sauce and balsamic perlage. The dessert was a chocolate marquise, with Chantilly cream, hazelnut crumb and caramelised hazelnut with a fresh raspberry coulis. The wine for the starter was a dry white Italian wine named Gavi, which had a hint of lemon and complemented the fish element. An Italian red, Valpolicella, a fruity but slightly acidic wine, was served with the main course.

The team had to prep and cook all the food themselves in two and a half hours. Whilst Emily and Sian were in the kitchen, Zac was out front waiting at the tables; silver service, of course, complete with silver salver. He also did the speciality coffee, a floater coffee with hazelnut liquor. Oh, to be one of the judges!

Zac, Emily and Sian won the Best Service Team title which is a great achievement and the judges said that their food was superb. Zac is now a chef at the Premier Inn, East Midlands Airport. Good luck in your chosen career Zac and may all your puddings be perfect.

Val Gillings