British Barbecue Battle

Ray Hall, Gareth Finney, Kris Brearley and Ben Bartlett

Ray Hall, Gareth Finney, Kris Brearley and Ben Bartlett - Credit: Archant

Faversham-based Shepherd Neame licensee Gareth Finney triumphs at 2015 British Barbecue Battle

Gareth Finney, who runs five pubs owned by the Faversham-based brewer with business partner Dan Sidders, won the Pubs and Bars category in the competition, held at Mentmore Golf & Country Club in Bedfordshire, and was also named overall champion.

Gareth and Dan run The Albion Taverna and The Limes in Faversham, and The Shakespeare, The Parrot and Ye Olde Beverlie in Canterbury. Mexican food is a key element of several of the pubs’ menus, and influenced Gareth’s competition entry.

He and the other seven finalists were asked to create a three-course meal on a barbecue within one hour, and he cooked Jazzy Barbecued Scallops, followed by Mexican Lamb, and a dessert of Sweet Gooey Burritos.

Gareth, 36, who has worked as a chef for almost 20 years, said: “I decided to go for a Mexican theme, as I wanted to show people that it has the potential to be á la carte, not just ‘Tex Mex’ as it is often described. I also hoped that by demonstrating this high standard of food can be created under pressured conditions, it would encourage people to try out what is on offer in our pubs.”

Every finalist took home a Sharp R21AT Commercial Microwave, Simply Stainless Professional Chef’s table, Smeg Mixer, full set of Lion Sauces and exclusive British arbecue Battle chef’s whites. As overall champion, Gareth also came away with a Crown Verity MCB-36 barbecue and accessories pack worth £3,000 and £100 of One4All vouchers.

Gareth, who lives in Faversham, said: “It is the first time I have entered the competition, and I am so thrilled not only to have won my category, but be named overall champion! I had a fantastic day, and love cooking outside, so I can’t wait to put all my new equipment to good use!”

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This was the 4th annual British Barbecue Battle. All finalists in each category (Pub/Restaurant; Golf Club & Event Catering; University; Hotel) were shortlisted based upon the creativity of a previously submitted three course menu to be cooked on a barbecue.

The judging panel consisted of Ben Bartlett, Barbecue Champion and President of the British BBQ Association; Chris Basten, Chairman of Craft Guild of Chefs; Bill Verity, President of Crown Verity, and Jennipher Marshall Jenkinson, Chairman of the Microwave Technologies Association.

For further information visit www.shepherdneame.co.uk

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