Our super-talented Development Chef Samantha Rain has struck gold after an impressive team performance at the Culinary World Cup held at Expogast 2022 in Luxembourg at the end of last month.
Samantha was a member of England’s National Culinary Team, which scooped a Gold and Silver at the prestigious competition, which takes place every four years and is the second largest culinary competition in the world.
Alongside Samantha were Team Coach, Paul Dickinson; Team Captain Adam Thomason MCA, Culinary Director, Absolute Taste; Ed Marsh, Michelin-starred The Manor House, Castle Combe, Wiltshire; Jamie Gibbs, Absolute Taste; Jamie Stones, Executive Chef, Fullers; Stacey Harris, Head Chef, KMPG; Tomas Krasnan, Pastry Chef, Etihad Stadium, Manchester, and Chris Zammit, Culinary Artist, all supported by Steve McGarry and Stephen Sweeting of Fullers.
On the first day of the competition, the team was awarded a silver medal for their Edible Buffet.
They then competed in the Restaurant of Nations, serving 110 covers on the third day of the competition, winning gold for their efforts.
Samantha’s dessert course for the Restaurant of Nations was Oxfordshire Damson plums & Cornish clotted cream mousse, sea salted almond frangipane and Fen Farm yoghurt sorbet.
For the Chefs Table, the team created a dessert titled ‘Ancient orchard apples, spiced bilberry pudding and caramelised cream cheese’, plus a selection of petits fours:
- Penny Bun mushroom infused 70% dark chocolate and red wine cask-aged Dartmoor whiskey
- Bergamot, Earl Grey tea and ginger nut
- English rose and preserved damson
In the spotlight
Whilst Samantha is no stranger to high-profile competitions, she admits it’s always very nerve-wracking.
“It was very, very hard.
“I joined the team quite late as their pastry chef, and it went from zero to a thousand overnight! They’re all incredibly talented people and were so welcoming.
“It was very flattering to be asked and I was so grateful for the opportunity, it’s a very big commitment – a lot of additional hours spent trialing recipes and getting in the mindset for competing but I’m so proud of what I’ve achieved.”
Sam used several Henley Bridge ingredients in her award-winning dishes, including the Grandes Distilleries Peureux Amaretto, Republica del Cacao and Belcolade chocolate and a number of Sosa products, including albumina, agar agar and trehelose.
One of the petit fours was required to be vegan so Samantha used the Chocolat Madagascar vegan white chocolate, and the Chocolatree coloured cocoa butters also featured heavily in her creations, adding vibrant but natural colour.
“I’m so lucky that, through my development chef role at Henley Bridge, I have the opportunity to work with some brilliant brands and keep up to speed with the latest innovations in the culinary world,” she explains. “I knew I could rely on the quality and consistency that these leading brands offer, which gave me peace of mind in a stressful kitchen environment!”
Play it again, Sam?!
Following on from her success in Luxembourg, Samantha has been asked to do it all again at the Culinary Olympics, which will be held in Germany in March 2024.
“It’s great for me to be able to take part in such prestigious international competitions. As I’m not working in a kitchen any more, it’s a brilliant opportunity to showcase my ability and show that I’m very much still involved in the industry.”
Watch this space!