Mr Benson-Smith will be using his considerable food pedigree to assess how well this year’s 28 participants have combined fresh local ingredients and used their imagination to create winning menus.
The Menu de Terroir aims to showcase the finest Jersey produce by encouraging chefs to put their culinary skills to the test and invent a menu that features at least 70 per cent local produce. Competitors are not only judged on the quality and taste of the food on their menu, but also on its prominence and the amount of local produce used.
Mr Benson-Smith is the man behind the mouth-watering menus at new restaurant The Boat House. One of the UK’s most renowned chefs, he has been a judge on the BBC’s Materchef and Northern Chef of the Year programmes. He makes regular appearances in the media and is a much sought-after cookery demonstrator for events such as BBC Good Food Show.
A Yorkshireman trained in France, Mr Benson-Smith’s recent initiatives include helping Lloyd Grossman to advise the National Health Service on how to improve hospital food, consultancy to a number of food manufacturers, and research and development for Walkers Sensations’ crisps. His CV mentions 25 years’ work all over the UK, including five years at Manchester’s celebrity-filled Victoria & Albert Hotel and consultant executive chef to the Manchester City Football Club stadium.
Today, Mr Benson-Smith brings his experience and vast energy to the Menu de Terroir 2006. He says: “The Menu de Terroir is all about promoting local ingredients and getting them onto menus for the benefit not only of the producer but also of the diner, who can enjoy the high quality and excellent taste of local goods. I’ll be looking for evidence of this as I make way around the menus and establishments which are competing this year. The sponsors and I will be assessing how well head chefs have used their culinary expertise and creativity on the menus.”
Ken Syvret, chairman of the Genuine Jersey Products Association, said he was delighted that nearly 30 local restaurants had been competing for the title this year. He said: “Since May, local restaurants and pubs have been showcasing the quality and diversity of fresh Jersey produce in the Menu de Terroir. It’s an initiative which really underpins the work of Genuine Jersey – to promote the exceptional diversity and quality of the very best produce that Jersey has to offer.”
The Menu de Terroir is available in participating restaurants until 16th September.