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Chef Adam secures one of the industry’s highest culinary honours

Adam Bennett, our chef director, was last week awarded the industry’s highest culinary honour when he was presented with the 2017 Master of Culinary Arts (MCA), the same week that the restaurant retained its Michelin star for a third year.

The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts MCA is considered the UK’s highest culinary and hospitality honour and is only presented to the winners once every four years. Adam was one of five British chefs awarded in this year’s competition at a ceremony in Claridges Hotel, London.

The MCA 2017 chef winners are as follows:

Adam Bennett, chef director, the Cross at Kenilworth
Chris Hill, premier sous chef, the Ritz London
Adam Smith, executive chef, Coworth Park, Ascot, Berkshire
Adam Thomason, head chef, Deloitte, Restaurant Associates
Anthony Wright, senior chef lecturer, University College Birmingham

Now in its 30th year, the MCA celebrates those who display advanced specialised knowledge and skills in culinary arts, express comprehensive knowledge of the principles of sustainability and the viability of food sources throughout the scope of the food chain and demonstrate leadership and support the development of others acting in the best interests of the hospitality profession.

In order to reach the finals, Adam had to win through a number of trials that tested his technical and creative skills and his ability to work under extreme pressure. He was supported by commis chefs, James Toth, junior sous chef at The Cross.

In the final, Adam had had six and a half hours to prepare and present a Dover sole dish using langoustines, mussels and razor clams, and a partridge dish, each dish accompanied with three garnishes.

Adam says, “The MCA is the toughest challenge I’ve taken on since the Bocuse d’Or and finding the time to prepare wasn’t easy so I certainly didn’t feel it was in the bag. It was fantastic to hear my name called out and I’m very proud to have joined such an esteemed line-up of chefs.”

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Our chef James to take to the stage with Hairy Biker, Dave Myers

James Toth, junior sous chef at The Cross at Kenilworth, will be taking to the stage with Hairy Biker Dave Myers at the first ever Solihull Food Festival on Saturday 30 and Sunday 1 October.
The festival, which takes place in Solihull’s town centre will feature more than 90 food stalls and bars, live music, cocktail and gin masterclasses and a Kid’s Zone.
James, 22, will be assisting Dave and radio presenter Steve Quirk at all seven demos which take place from 12 noon until 3.15pm on both Saturday and Sunday.  Tickets for the demos cost £5 each and can be purchased from the website
James is looking forward to the experience and says, “I feel quietly confident about the demo, it will be a great experience and I’m looking forward to playing to the crowd. I know a lot of people who will be in the audience so I’m going out there to enjoy myself too.” 
James loves a challenge and last year he reached the final of the British Culinary Federation Young Chef of the Year.  On Saturday 23 September he will be supporting chef director Adam Bennett when he competes in the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts Master of Culinary Arts final, considered one of the toughest challenges for British chefs. 
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Gin Cured Sea Trout, Smoked Baby Beets, Horseradish Sorbet, Watercress

For the sea trout and cure

A 350g piece of skinless, boneless sea trout (or salmon as a substitute)
100g coarse sea salt
100g granulated sugar
10g juniper berries – chopped
6g white peppercorns – crushed
½ bunch dill coarsely chopped
1 tsp each finely grated zest of lemon and bergamot (or lime as a substitute)
100ml approx. of aromatic gin such as Stratford Gin

• Combine the salt, sugar, dill and spices in a bowl. Add the gin little by little to give a texture a bit like wet sand.
• Lay half the mixture on a stainless steel or glass tray, place the sea trout on top and cover with the rest of the mixture. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge to cure for around 12 to 16 hours or until firm to the touch. Turn the fish over after 6 hours.
• Remove from the salt mixture & rinse briefly under cold water. Dry well and reserve in the fridge, covered.

For the smoked baby beets

2 bunches of mixed colour baby beets
Salt and pepper
100ml virgin rapeseed oil
A sprig of thyme
1 clove garlic – peeled and cut into 3
2 tbsp wood chippings – beech for preference

• Trim the leaves from the beets, wash thoroughly and package them in foil with salt, pepper, a piece of garlic, sprig of thyme and a little rapeseed oil. Bake in a preheated 170c oven until the beets are tender when tested with the point of a knife.
• Remove from the oven, when cool enough to handle rub the skins off with your fingertips
• Then rinse briefly under cold water, arrange them on a wire rack to fit over a deep roasting tray. Place the chippings in the tray and heat on the hob until smoke rises. Place the rack of beets over the smoking tray and cover with foil
• Allow to smoke for a few minutes depending on the smoke density, when you are happy with the level of smoke remove and chill the beets. Turn off the heat source under the tray and carefully pour in some cold water, leave to cool down.

For the horseradish sorbet

150g water
50g sugar
100g liquid glucose
100g Colman’s horseradish sauce
6g sorbet stabiliser (optional)
250g yoghurt
250g soured cream
Pinch of salt
20g lemon juice

• Mix the sugar with the sorbet stabiliser (if using)
• Place the water, sugar mixture and glucose in a pan & bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and cool.
• Add the rest of the ingredients to the cold syrup, leave to stand for 20 minutes then pass through a fine sieve.
• Churn in an ice cream machine and reserve in the freezer

To Serve-
1 small shallot – finely diced, rinsed in cold water and squeezed dry
A handful of washed watercress sprigs
Some shredded raw candy stripe beetroot
Extra virgin rapeseed oil
Calamansi vinegar (or cider vinegar as an alternative)
A sprinkle of sourdough crumbs toasted with rapeseed oil

• Cut the sea trout into a 3mm dice then mix with a little diced shallot and rapeseed oil. Cut the baby beets into quarters, season and dress with calamansi vinegar and rapeseed oil.
• Arrange the diced sea trout on each plate, add the beets then a scoop of sorbet. Finish with the shredded beetroot, sourdough crumbs and the watercress

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