Birmingham renews culinary link with French partner

Further boost for city’s foodie status.

Birmingham’s reputation for culinary excellence has been further strengthened, with the renewal of an agreement between the city’s chefs and their French colleagues from Lyon ahead of the final of a prestigious cooking competition.

The Protocole d’Entente, a certificate of agreement between the British Culinary Federation (BCF) and Les Toques Blanches Lyonnaises, is signed every four years. Its aim is to promote understanding and cooperation between the two associations, including chef exchanges, joint food promotions and enabling young chefs to be sent on work experience in Lyon or the UK.

Anglo-French ties were renewed at University College Birmingham, where the final of the BCF Chef of the Year 2014 was held this week. Sir Albert Bore, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “To host both the BCF Chef of the Year 2014 final and the signing of the Protocole d’Entente is testament to the strength and depth of culinary talent we have here in the city.

“Our ongoing relationship with Lyon is incredibly strong, and as Birmingham continues to grow its international reputation as a culinary destination, this is another stepping stone on that journey.”

Ten of the UK’s finest chefs competed in the Chef of the Year final, including Mathew Shropshall from University College Birmingham. Adam Handling from St Ermin’s Hotel in London was crowned the winner for his three-course meal celebrating the best of British food. Handling will now join the English National Culinary Team squad at the World Culinary Cup, Expogast, in Luxembourg this November.

Andreas Antona, Vice-President of the BCF and Chef-Patron of Simpsons Restaurant in Birmingham, said: “The Federation’s Chef of the Year competition is a highly contested and prestigious event, providing talented entrants with the opportunity to showcase their creativity and culinary skills in front of a judging panel holding no fewer than nine Michelin stars between them.

“Birmingham is becoming increasingly well known as a leader in cuisine – it was therefore fitting that this year’s event was held in the city.”

Lyon is Birmingham’s longest standing partner city, with links dating back to 1951. Birmingham is the only UK city to be part of Délice, an international network of likeminded cities, which was created in Lyon in 2007 to promote the benefits of culinary excellence and good food.