The Visit Banbury “Create a Banbury Dish” Competition has found its winner for 2015!
Sunday 9th August 2015 saw the culmination of a few months’ work by the Visit Banbury team, our partners and most importantly a number of local chefs, to find a new savoury dish for Banbury as part of a new competition for enthusiastic cooks and chefs to create a brand-new dish for Banbury and help us put our lovely historic market town on the food map!
Visit Banbury launched as a community organisation back in January 2015 and very quickly identified the growing food trend in Banbury as an area in which to develop projects to interest and excite Banbury residents and to promote Banbury, its culinary diversity and heritage.
The competition, the idea of Visit Banbury team member and project lead Tina Huyghe, was very much focused on promoting the values upon which Visit Banbury was established, such as Community, Collaboration, Local Cohesion, Inclusion, Diversity, Happiness, Positivity and Fun !
The intention was to work together with food-based organisations and the public to find a savoury dish which could be identified as the Banbury Dish for 2015 and shared with all of the local eateries who could then do their interpretation to put on their menus as follows:
Key project objectives:
- Help put Banbury on the food map
- Collaboration between various groups and businesses in Banbury in a common purpose
- The promotion of Banbury as a foodie tourist destination linked to the Food Fair
- A way to generate publicity for Banbury and the Visit Banbury Project
- A new tradition established for Banbury, to be run annually in future
Fortunately, following a number of discussions we were quickly able to link up with just the type of organisations we had wished for, the Catering Department at Banbury and Bicester College, Banbury Cookery School at Little Amsterdam and Banbury Town Council’s Events team responsible for the Banbury Food Fair, so the project would be truly collaborative.
Over time, we added Naomi’s Café & Bar, Your Letterbox, The Grass Man, the Art Framing Workshop, Tudor Photography / Banbury Wedding Cars, Chiltern Railways, Cherwell Trophies and a well-known chef who trained locally, to the list of kind people and organisations who have gone out of their way to help us on the project, so truly becoming Banbury-wide.
The competition was open to anyone of any age who had Banbury in their address.
The competition brief:
- Can be any type of hot or cold savoury dish
- Easy to prepare or cook (not time-consuming)
- Use fresh ingredients, locally sourced if possible to give a Banbury identity
- Be cost-effective
- Provide a vegetarian alternative if your dish is meat or fish-based
- Easily adapted by local restaurateurs to reflect Banbury’s culinary diversity
The 3 finalists, Rebecca (Becca) O’Brien, Christina Welz (both from Banbury and Bicester College) and Phil Seal (a sous-chef working at the Coach and Horses in Butcher’s Row and freelance chef) were selected by a panel of judges after cooking their dishes at The Cherwell Restaurant of Banbury and Bicester College & The Coach and Horses in semi-final cook-offs at the end of June 2015.
An earlier Visit Banbury blog tells all about the initial stages.
Christina Welz and her honey-glazed loin of pork with fennel and caramelised apple.
Becca O’Brien and her lamb shoulder with pea purée.
On Sunday morning they again cooked their dishes at The Banbury Cookery School at Little Amsterdam in front of a packed restaurant at a special brunch session hosted by Visit Banbury, wonderfully compered by the inimitable Steve Gold and produced by Ilja Harvey Andrews (who was also one of the judges) and her team, who said “What a great morning. It was fabulous”.
Other comments can be seen from those tweeting using the hashtag #BanburyDish – click below
Ilja Harvey Andrews of Little Amsterdam
Steve Gold of Visit Banbury
Official judges Tina and Marta of Visit Banbury deep in contemplation alongside Naomi Perkins of Naomi’s Café and Bar and Ilja. They were joined by “Mr Banburyshire Info”, Ian Gentles, who is also in the Visit Banbury team and Sophie Jones from Your Letterbox.
4 judges and an additional 11 public tables tasted the delicious creations and decided on who had best met the specification of the competition, their reasoning linking their dish to Banbury, their proposed vegetarian alternative and by providing a cost-effective, locally sourced recipe and of course, the chef who executed their food with the best presentation and taste.
After a close competition and much deliberation, the judges decided that Phil Seal and his “Banesebury Purple Pigeon Salad” was the winner of the Visit Banbury “Create a Banbury Dish” competition 2015 and he was awarded his trophy by Cllr John Donaldson who, as The Grass Man, had sponsored the purchase of the trophy from Cherwell Trophies in Parsons Street.
Phil is seen here with Tina Huyghe of Visit Banbury.
The winning Banbury Dish 2015 “Banesebury Purple Pigeon Salad”.
After his victory at Little Amsterdam, Phil then went along to demonstrate his dish in front of a public audience at the Town Hall as part of Banbury Food Fair and then presented his winning menu to Town Mayor Cllr Mepham on behalf of the whole of Banbury.
The Mayor congratulated Phil on his winning dish and also gave thanks to the Visit Banbury project team for organising new innovative, local project events in Banbury to coincide with his second Mayoral term. Later Phil said “thank you so much for today” and it “was so nerve-wracking”.
Visit Banbury will now share the winning recipe with all of the local restaurants and pubs for them to put their own twist on it for customers to try. Already, The Coach and Horses and Little Amsterdam have agreed to add their versions of the dish to their menus. This will be promoted to encourage people into the town’s restaurants to try the Banbury Dish 2015.
If you are interested in having a version of the Visit Banbury “Banbury Dish 2015” on your menu and for Visit Banbury to promote you please contact Visitbanbury@aol.com or contact us via Facebook or Twitter.
In addition to the opportunity to cook at the Banbury Food Fair and to meet the Mayor and have his menu shared across Banbury, Phil also took away the trophy, a Visit Banbury Commendation plus a very special prize as follows, about which Phil said “amazed by the prize, really looking forward to it” and “I cannot wait to see how the man does it himself”.
- On an agreed date in the future, the winner and a guest of their choice will be picked up in style and transported from their home to Banbury train station in “Marilyn” the amazing 1969 Mark II 2.4 Jaguar limousine courtesy of Helen & Harry of Tudor Photography / Wedding Cars Banbury; (Photo courtesy of Tudor Photography)
- On arrival at Banbury train station, they will travel on VIP passes for the day courtesy of Chiltern Railways on their network, allowing access to the Business Zone of the train, travelling to London Marylebone to spend the day as they wish; (Photo courtesy of Chiltern Railways)
- Afterwards the winner and their guest will make their way to the heart of the West End to enjoy dinner as guests of Gordon Ramsay and his team at Heddon Street Kitchen, in Regent Street Food Quarter, W1B 4BE and to experience the kitchens first hand as part of a brief tour to meet the professionals at work; http://t.co/EBOk2BxqBQ (Photo courtesy of Heddon Street Kitchen / http://www.Gordonramsayrestaurants.com)
- Then back to Marylebone to travel back to Banbury with Chiltern Railways and a taxi paid by Visit Banbury back home.
Visit Banbury were particularly thrilled to get the support of Gordon Ramsay who trained as a chef in Banbury. In a direct message to Tim Tarby-Donald, tweeting as @VisitBanbury on Twitter, Gordon advised that he “would love to support in some way” as “it was Banbury Round Table that helped fund me”.
Visit Banbury have been working with Gordon’s team at Heddon Street Kitchen and they have been very generous and flexible in helping us offer our young chef and his guest an amazing, inspirational prize.
“Gordon seems to have taken a particular interest in this competition supporting young chefs in Banbury” said Tim, adding “Gordon even tweeted Phil on Sunday to wish him Well Done”.
Thanks from The Visit Banbury Project Team to the organisations who have worked in conjunction with us to achieve our goal of creating a food competition for the Community within Banbury.
Banbury and Bicester College, Banbury Cookery School / Little Amsterdam, Banbury Town Council / Banbury Food Fair, Naomi’s Café & Bar, John Donaldson – The Grass Man, Tudor Photography / Banbury Wedding Cars, Chiltern Railways, Your Letterbox, The Art Framing Workshop, Cherwell Trophies and to a certain GR who trained in Banbury and the team at Heddon Street Kitchen in London.
Tina with Phil’s winning recipe presented to The Mayor and Phil’s Visit Banbury Commendation for winning the competition.
As part of the food projects in the pipeline, the Visit Banbury team are looking to include all of the recipes from the finalists in a Banbury Recipe book being developed, plus work is already underway to explore how Banbury Cheese and Banbury Ale might be revived as local food and drink products and a very exciting project using chocolate is being explored with a view to creating wonderful sweet souvenirs.
All rights reserved Visit Banbury 2015. Photos copyright of Visit Banbury unless otherwise stated and credited.