Charles Coulombeau, head chef at the Michelin-starred Gravetye Manor in West Sussex, has won the UK edition of the “Le Taittinger” International Culinary Prize.
Coulombeau was given €2,400 in prize money and will now represent the UK at the international final in Paris on 28 January 2020.
His winning culinary creation remains a secret until the international final in Paris, where he will prepare it along with a set recipe .
Coloumbeau was appointed head chef of the Gravetye Manor in East Grinstead, in 2018 having joined the restaurant as a sous-chef in 2016.
He worked as chef in Japan, Burgundy and in the Basque Country before embarking on a new culinary adventure in Britain.
Michel Roux, president of the UK National Competition, said: “The competition was extremely tough, and the new format of the competition has given the candidates new freedom to express their ideas and inspirations. This led to an even higher standard of entries demonstrating excellent technical skills and attention to detail.
This year, the final competition has adopted a new format celebrating king scallops as a “hero” ingredient, which chefs will use at the heart of a signature dish.
At the international final on 28 January, Coulombeau will compete with the winners of the other national competitions in Belgium, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland. On the eve of the final, all of the national winners will spend the day in Champagne at Taittinger to fuel their creativity.
Known as the “Everest of Gastronomy” the contest has been running since 1953. Crowned champions include Joel Robuchon, Bernard Leprince and Michel Roth. The winner of the international final will receive €20,000 and a medal, and the runner-up will be awarded €5,000. Third place chefs receive €2,500 in prize money.