It just got tougher to be Coeliac UK's Gluten-free Chef of the Year!

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Coeliac UK, launched this year's Gluten-Free Chef of the Year competition recently and is asking entrants to showcase their skills by including gluten-free substitutes such as bread, pasta cooked from scratch at the live final.


For the third year, the competition is being run in association with the Institute of Hospitality and the Craft Guild of Chefs with the judging to be once again headed up by celebrity chef and Coeliac UK's Food Ambassador Phil Vickery.


The competition is for professional cooks and catering college students to design a three course gluten-free meal for two people. This year, entrants' menus must include at least two courses which include a gluten-free element, such as pasta, pastry, sponge, cake, bread, batter etc which must be made from scratch on the day of the live cook-off by the three finalists in each group. The live cook-off will take place at the Unilever Food Solutions Culinary Business Development Centre in Leatherhead on 12 November 2012.


Phil Vickery has worked with the Coeliac UK, the national charity for people with coeliac disease, for a number of years and has also written three gluten-free cookbooks. "Every year the standard of entries improves so we're raising the bar for entrants to take on the challenge and prove just how delicious gluten-free can be! More and more people are being diagnosed with coeliac disease and in today's difficult times, it's a market the industry can't afford to ignore and I urge chefs of all experience to enter this excellent competition," said Phil Vickery.


Coeliac disease is an autoimmune disease caused by intolerance to gluten. Damage to the gut lining occurs when gluten is eaten; there is no cure or medication for the condition and the only treatment is a strict gluten-free diet for life. Without a gluten-free diet, the disease can lead to other conditions, such as malnutrition, osteoporosis, small bowel cancer and also can cause infertility problems. At least 1 in 100 people in the UK have coeliac disease; representing a potential £100 million market amongst those diagnosed with the condition and the friends and family they eat out with.


The competition comprises two categories; 'Gluten-free Chef of the Year' for those who cook for a living and are over 23 and the 'Up and Coming Gluten-free Chef of the Year' for those who are training and under 23. Entrants will be shortlisted and three finalists from each category will go head to head in a live cook-off final to recreate their menu in 90 minutes


Jason Church, Coeliac UK's Gluten-free Chef of the Year 2011 is cooking and speaking at The Skillery live theatre at Hotelympia on Thursday 1st March demonstrating his winning gluten-free dessert recipe.



Written submissions must:

  • Be suitable for casual dining/bistro/brasserie style service
  • At least 2 courses must include a gluten-free element, such as pasta, pastry, sponge, cake, bread, batter etc, made from scratch on the day
  • Balance flavour and textures across the courses - can you tell if it is gluten-free?
  • Must be seasonal - is it a winter/spring/summer/autumn menu
  • Be innovative, but practical to serve in the time allocated
  • Photographs of dishes to be included with entries.


For help with developing gluten-free recipes, Coeliac UK has plenty of hints and tips



Gluten-free Chef of the Year

A week long stage at Gleneagles working under two Michelin-starred chef, Andrew Fairlie with accommodation included.


Up and Coming Gluten-free Chef of the Year

A week long stage at Michelin-starred The Pass at South Lodge with chef Matt Gillan, with accommodation included.


Additional prizes, kindly provided by Sodexo and 3663, include generous gift vouchers and knives, and all finalists will receive a year's Membership to the Craft Guild of Chefs.


Closing date for entries is 5pm on Friday 19 October and entrants will be notified by 31 October if they have been shortlisted for the live final.


For more information on the competition visit

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