It’s cook-off time! On Tuesday 6th September London’s leading chefs competed in the first ever Croquetas challenge in the Soho’s Ember Yard. It was a fight like no other, and for the first time ever London foodies were able to watch the city’s best restaurants and chefs go head to head for the culinary title of ‘ultimate croquetas’. Contestants included Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, The Modern Pantry, Salt YardSocial Wine & Tapas, Brindisa Kitchens, Oldroyd, Duende, Copita, Barrica, Camino, Riding House Café, Tapas Revolution, Aqua Nueva and Señor Ceviche, which made the decision of the professional judges, from the journalist world, incredibly tough. Entries varied from traditional choices of jamon to unusual creations, such as smoked eel and beetroot; and there was definitely more than enough treats for everyone to try.

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The trophy of best croquetas went to Aqua Nueva for their outstanding black seafood aioli croquetas, pictured below. They truly were an attractive bunch which won for all-round texture, flavour and authenticity. Runners up were Tapas Revolution with their tradition ham and béchamel, and Brindisa Kitchen’s jamon croquetas, who also wowed the judges with their creations. Other awards were handed out during the evening including for crunchiest croquetas, which went to Social Wine and Tapas and for the most creative. Duende bagged this prize with their immaculate aubergine and goats cheese croquetas topped with crystallised acacia honey and rosemary. The humble pub snack was taken to a whole new level, and we loved it!

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This was a grand event hosted by the chef director of Salt Yard Group, Ben Tish, and hopefully will lead the way for more cook-off tournaments available to the public. I know we’re already looking forward to seeing next year’s entries!