Restaurants Associates scoops Tilda Chef Team of the Year 2022

Restaurants Associates has won the Tilda Chef Team of the Year 2022 title for the second consecutive year.

At the Salon Culinaire live final at HRC (Hotel, Restaurant & Catering) and in conjunction with the Craft Guild of Chefs, Restaurants Associates – the premium hospitality arm of Compass Group UK & Ireland - scooped the iconic blue trophies and an all-expenses paid chef trip to Italy.

The silver awarded team included Chefs Tarisa Reid (pictured second left) and William May (second right) who impressed the judges with their Caribbean inspired menu that celebrated Carnival.

The talented duo made Traditional ‘Cook Up’ Carnival Rice, for their main using Tilda Easy Cook Long Grain , beans as well as an assortment of meats. Cook Up is a popular dish that is sold by street vendors during the carnival festive period.

For dessert, they made creamy Coconut Rice Pudding using Tilda Arborio rice, Mango Coulis, Cashew and Tilda Basmati & Wild Puff Rice Granola – inspired by the fruits, nuts and spices found in the Caribbean.

The teams had just 45 minutes to prepare, cook and present a Festival of Flavour Menu that included four portions of a main course and a dessert using Tilda speciality rice. The 16 chefs pulled out all the stops to showcase their skills and created Tilda inspired recipes for Carnival, Diwali, Mardi Gras, Africa Day, Thai New Year, Easter and Christmas.

The live final included guest judges Café Spice Namaste Chef Patron Cyrus Todiwala; National Chef of the Year winners, Nick Smith and Steve Groves; Vice Chair of the Craft Guild of Chefs Mark Reynolds; Course Coordinator for the International Culinary Arts Diploma at Westminster Kingsway College - Miranda Godfrey; Graham Crump, Editor of the BCF News Magazine; Stuart Pate, Head Pastry Chef at The Seafood Restaurant in Padstow and representing Tilda Foodservice, Jo Witchell.

Reid said, “It’s amazing to win – I cried - I’m so happy with the result. I’m from the Caribbean and as Carnival is such a big festival, I chose dishes that I personally enjoy, I love ‘Cook Up’.

'For desserts we took fruits, nuts, spices and seeds from the Caribbean and created a pudding that really celebrated all these ingredients and made the most of Tilda rice. I’ve competed in Tilda Chef Team of the Year before and so to come here and win with William means everything.”

May added, 'We’re elated to have won and be going to Italy. Tarisa and I have been practising every evening, just practising and practising to get the recipes and timing right. We nailed it in the final practise and felt good coming into today.

'We used Tilda Arborio to create the rice pudding as it’s so good and Basmati & Wild is the best rice to use for puff rice - it all came together and we won, we’re so glad we entered.”

Along with Tilda’s iconic blue trophy, the Restaurants Associates chefs will enjoy a once in a lifetime gastronomic trip to Italy, to visit the rice paddies and mills that produce Tilda’s speciality rice and sample the very best of the local food and produce.

Jo Witchell, Commercial Foodservice Marketing Manager, Tilda UK, said, 'It was very special to have Tilda Chef Team of the Year back at HRC. Thank you to all our chefs who gave us an incredible live final, as well as the amazing crowd who came out to support them.

'Congratulations to Tarisa and William as this year’s winning chef team, it was a very difficult decision for the judges, but their Carnival inspired menu really delivered in authenticity, taste and showcased the endless possibilities of Tilda rice – a very deserving winner!”