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Gastronomy Team of the Year: last call for entries

The Academy of Food & Wine has made a last call for entries to its inaugural Gastronomy Team of the Year competition, which aims to encourage kitchen and service professionals to demonstrate their ability to work as a team.

"The competition is a good training exercise, giving both chef and sommelier the opportunity to work closely together to choose appropriate food and wine pairings and to demonstrate the reason behind their choices. The most successful teams from around the country will ultimately qualify for what promises to be an exciting 'cook and serve' final at Westminster Kingsway College, London, at the end of July," said Nick Scade, chairman and chief executive of the Academy.

Entries will initially be judged on answers to a questionnaire. Successful teams will then send in written submissions with the judging panel looking for diversity in the food and wine matches and the combinations that exist within these products. The chef will be required to outline the ingredients and preparation method for the dishes and the wine waiter to explain the reasoning behind the choice of accompanying wines. Entries will also be assessed on presentation and the theory and reasoning behind why the combination should work.

The 2009 Gastronomy Team of the Year is sponsored by Discover the Origin, a new campaign promoted by a series of major chefs and sommeliers. The campaign aims to educate food and wine professionals nationwide about the provenance and origin of five key European products: Parma Ham, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, Burgundy wines, Port and Douro Valley wines. It is part financed with aid from the European Union, Portugal, France and Italy to promote products holding the Protected Destination of Origin (PDO) mark. The competition will involve each chef and waiter team creating a two-course menu with matching wines from Discover the Origin PDO products.

The five best teams from each of the five regions – South, London, Wales & Midlands, North, and Scotland – will then be invited to compete for the top accolade during a practical 'cook and serve' final on 27 July 2009 at Westminster Kingsway College, London.

The winning team will receive a fabulous 10-day trip courtesy of Discover the Origin to the three regions involved including Burgundy, Parma and the Douro Valley to deepen their understanding of the history and provenance behind the products of the campaign.

Contact the Academy of Food & Wine on 020 8661 4646 for an entry form, or download one from www.afws.co.uk. The closing date for entries is 22 May 2009.

For further information call Sophie Roberts-Brown or Helen Glen at the Academy of Food & Wine on 020 8661 4646 or email sophie@acfws.org or nicky@acfws.org.

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