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21ST JUN 2024

Arthur Heads to UNOX Italy HQ for 2024 CombiGuru Challenge

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Arthur Ehibor Unox
Arthur Ehibor Unox

Last month, Level 3 Professional Cookery student Arthur Ehibor had a fantastic experience as he took part in the CombiGuru UK cookery challenge in Italy!

Competing against students from several other colleges, the standard was high throughout, and it was an incredibly close competition. We’re proud that Arthur placed 4th in the competition.

Working with The Burnt Chef Project, UNOX Italy hosts the CombiGuru Challenge for UK colleges. It aims to inspire culinary creativity and give exposure to the Hospitality and Catering students throughout the competition. The students were also able to hear about new and innovative cooking solutions and sample the local cuisine as part of the trip.

An ambassador from CombiGuru UK visited GC to introduce the challenge to our students. To enter, the students took part in an online quiz to win their place in the competition. It covered a huge range of topics, including vegetables, seasonality, cooking techniques and how to use different pieces of equipment.

“It was really nice to be able to represent the college. It was very scary. I didn’t sleep at all the night before! It was tense, but people were friendly and the instructors gave me nice encouraging words.

“They give you two ‘secret’ ingredients which you need to use on the day. For the main it was curry, and for the dessert it was cinnamon. I made a chicken roulade with crispy chicken skin, a broccoli and mint puree, along with a spicy Thai green curry sauce which I mixed with a demi-glace – that’s basically a reduction of broth.

“For the dessert I made a cinnamon frangipane with a chopped almond filling inside the sponge. On top I piped a cinnamon and Chantilly cream.

“I was 5 points away from first place. It was a close competition. I got to meet loads of people who all share my interests so that was fun. Me and some of the competitors all sort of made a promise that we’d see each other on the Michelin star website. Hopefully I can live up to their expectations!

“It’s been a good experience because they gave us a rundown on our weaknesses, mine was speed. I can execute techniques perfectly, but I need to work on my speed.

“I like to cook modern creative cuisine, so it gives me a chance to be creative and do things a little differently. Sometimes, for example, if there was an old recipe I try to do things to make it more modern, using more modern techniques to come up with my own innovative ways to do it.

“For example, there’s a dish I did at Wilder in Nailsworth where I work – a dessert that we were given, and I sort of made an edible balloon and filled it with helium and it makes a nice little memory.

“After college I’m planning to go to London to work at Core by Claire Smyth. I’ll be going in at a junior level and my plan is to study there and work my way up until I’m a sous chef or a chef de partie, and then maybe go somewhere else or open my own restaurant.

“College made me a bit more well-rounded. I wouldn’t have had as much confidence, and I’d be a lot less technically polished if I’d just worked in restaurants. I’m nervous but I’m ready to go and move. I have autism and feel like I was overlooked because of my diagnosis so nobody expected me to do much. Now I just want to prove everyone wrong.

“I’d like to thank my teachers who were very patient with me, and their patience for teaching me and listening to my questions. I’d also like to thank them for trying all my weird food combinations and letting me explore!”

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