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Sundial Group chef takes home Copper Skillet prize

Mary Palecek, sous chef at Woodside, took the Junior Category Copper Skillet

Pictured: Mary Palecek, sous chef at Woodside in Warwickshire

Sundial Group is celebrating after one of its chefs won the junior category at this year’s Global Copper Skillet Competition.

Mary Palecek, sous chef at Woodside in Warwickshire, took the Junior Category Copper Skillet in the competition at UCLA Meyer & Renee Luskin Conference Center in Los Angeles, beating off competition from chefs from IACC Americas, Australia-Asia-Pacific and European member venues.

Palecek cooked a winning dish of sautéed courgette and aubergine, poached sea bass, pan fried sirloin, red pepper, tomato and coriander salsa, heritage carrots and caramelised shallots.

In the competition, the chefs were presented with basic store cupboard items and a “mystery basket” of proteins. They were given 30 minutes to prepare, create, and present their creations to judges.

“This year, the competition shows first-hand how important it is to our members to demonstrate their culinary expertise,” said Mark Cooper, IACC CEO. “Aside from the passion that could clearly be seen on the finalist chefs faces during this great global final, throughout the country competitions this year, we saw a greater number of our members participating in the cook-off’s and we also saw a new Benelux competition added to our line up.”

Palecek qualified for the final after winning  the 2016 European Copper Skillet Junior Competition in September 2016.

Kent Phillips, executive chef at Ivey Spencer Leadership Centre in Ontario, Canada, won the senior category prize.

The Copper Skillet competition was introduced in 2004 for chefs from IACC-member conference venues around the world.

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