Why did you enter the awards?
A colleague highlighted them to me and we felt that, as an Italian restaurant offering a wide range of breakfast options, including a full English with poached eggs, it would be a fun way to get involved with other restaurants and chefs offering a similar selection.
How important is breakfast to your offer?
Offering a number of different breakfast options, including a wide selection of healthy alternatives to our loyal customer base, is extremely important to us. A good breakfast is the best way to start the day and we have been pleasing our guests first thing in the morning since 1946.
What are your breakfast best-sellers?
Our best-seller was our full English breakfast for a long time, however, over the years we have introduced a wide variety of healthy options. We did this because we wanted to ensure that our guests could start their busy days with a breakfast that hadn’t been fried and was more wholesome, leaving them feeling fresh and healthy.
Now, our avocado on toast with Scottish smoked salmon and poached Italian free-range eggs is our best-seller. We also run weekly specials that are just as popular, including hand-picked crab sambal, kedgeree, and an Italian twist on our healthier baked breakfasts.
How did you decide on what two dishes and smoothie to cook for the event?
We wanted to cook dishes that represented Franco’s using the two ingredients that were being sponsored. Basing the first dish on a popular dish with our guests, I did a twist on the traditional salmon and eggs on toast, offering a Tetley tea smoked salmon with potato hash, spinach and poached eggs. With the second dish, I sought to express the luxury and decadence that Franco’s offers its guests by cooking lobster benedict. We wanted the smoothie to be bursting with vitamins and minerals and be fresh, therefore we chose to do a blend of beetroot, pineapple and lime.
How do you stay calm under pressure when competing?
I haven’t entered many competitions in the past and when I first arrived I took some time to ensure I knew where everything was so I was well prepared. When the competition initially started I felt the pressure but I took a few deep breaths and thought to myself, ‘We cook for hundreds of people a day, I can cook a couple of breakfast dishes’. I just zoned into my work area and focused on what I needed to do.
Did you enjoy the competition?
The competition was great fun; I really enjoyed cooking the dishes I had selected and also seeing what the other chefs were bringing to the table. It is always nice to speak with other people in the industry and see how they put their own spin on certain dishes. The talent and creativity in the catering industry right now is incredible and so exciting to see.
Would you recommend that other people enter the awards?
I would certainly recommend other people get involved and enter the awards. It was a great experience!