Emily Barden works for Aramark Defence Services as a Chef in New College at the prestigious Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. Encouraged by her mentor, Yves Girard, Executive Chef at Sandhurst, Emily entered the first ever Side by Side Chef of the Year competition. She beat several other short listed chefs to jointly win the South East and London regional final before going on to take part in the ADS national final at Nestlé’s Head Quarters in Gatwick on November 15th 2018.
Emily started cooking with her father when she was just 11 years old. “My love of cooking,” she says, “really developed when I started food technology at school and then catering in college. I learnt a lot from my teachers. I was very proud to complete level 3 professional cookery with a distinction grade.”
“I worked for a while as a Sous Chef at North Hants Golf Club before getting the role at Sandhurst where I cook for up to 400 cadets every day of the week! Sandhurst delivers over 300 functions a year so I also sometimes get chance to extend my skills by cooking for dinner nights and balls.”
For the Chef of the Year final, Emily prepared a delicious dish, rich in seasonal ingredients: pan friend duck breast with a blackberry gastrique, baby heritage star anise carrots and spinach and sweet potato balls.
“For my dessert,” she added, “I wanted to make something light and refreshing after the strong flavours of the main course.” Emily’s white chocolate, coconut and raspberry mousse cake with a raspberry sauce featured handmade spun sugar cages and edible flowers and looked as great as it tasted!
Emily is no stranger to culinary competitions having competed twice with her class at college. The judges were very impressed, not only by the taste and presentation of her menu but by her obvious technical skill and excellent health and safety practices.
“Emily is young, talented and ambitious.” Said Mark Webber, Aramark’s Culinary Director. “There are some great opportunities for someone with her obvious ability to develop and thrive as part of our team at ADS. I look forward to working with her in the future.”