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Restaurant Associates Exec Head Chef awarded Master of Culinary Arts

Adam Thomason, Executive Head Chef at Restaurant Associates, the fine dining division of Compass Group UK & Ireland, has been awarded a prestigious Master of Culinary Arts (MCA) by the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, two days after taking second place at the National Chef of the Year Awards.

Since its inception in 1987, the MCA ceremony has celebrated those who display a mastery of the complex and advanced specialised knowledge and skills in culinary arts. This year’s cohort of winners were announced at Claridge’s Hotel in London. Becoming the recipient of an MCA is recognised as one of the UK hospitality industry’s most prestigious honours.

After successfully passing the preliminary written submission and the following semi-final, Thomason had to prepare two main courses, one in the form of a platter, for blind tasting from the distinguished judging panel. While dishes are predominantly judged on taste, appearance and how complex they are to make, finalists also had to impress on further aspects such as food waste reduction, communication and attitude in the kitchen.

The two dishes Thomason produced for the final were: cured and poached Dover sole fillet, shitake and spinach; and smoked bacon wrapped Red Legged partridge, caramelised shallot and apricot stuffing.

Just before this award, Thomason picked up the first of his two culinary accolades, taking second place in Craft Guild of Chefs’ National Chef of the Year for the second year in succession. Restricted to using the ingredients provided to contestants, he served a starter of Lardo glazed scallop, smoked bacon, oyster emulsion and water cress, a venison loin with gin pickled turnips for the main and a dessert of caramel white chocolate cream with poached and broiled royal gala apples.

Thomason commented, “I was absolutely speechless when it was announced I had received a MCA; as one of the most prestigious awards in the chef community, it’s a great feeling to have one to my name. I’m so proud of the team I have on site which allows us to create dishes to be remembered.”

“I would like to say a special thank you to Jeremy Ford, Executive Chef at Restaurant Associates, who has mentored me after also receiving this accolade four years previously. He has been a true inspiration and it’s great to learn from one of our team of expert chefs.”

Jeremy Ford, Executive Chef – Restaurant Associates, said, “This has been a goal of Adam’s for some time now so naturally I am delighted he has been successful. He is an astonishingly good chef; I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this honour than Adam.

' I have seen first-hand just how much work Adam has put into his MCA, this award is hard earned from a real dedication to our craft. Alongside finishing as runner up at the National Chef of the Year for two years running, this is proof of his outstanding talent.”