Our first two Chefs' Challenges together raised more than £10,000 for the designated charities and also helped boost school funds for the two venues. We would not have been able to achieve so much without the wonderful support of the professional people contributing to the shows, the band of willing volunteers working hard behind the scenes, and the goodwill of local businesses whose generosity boosted the fund no end - not to mention all the people who came along to the show and bought raffle tickets and auction prizes. We can't thank you enough.

See below for more information on each event.


Hotel du Vin Winchester vs Lainston House
30th September 2010
£8,500 raised

On Thursday 30th September, Hampshire foodies gathered at Thornden Hall Performing Arts Centre in Chandler's Ford to enjoy a 'Ready, Steady Cook'-style chefs challenge starring teams of chefs from two of the region's top 4-star hotels - Hotel du Vin Winchester and Lainston House.

Hosted by Simon Clarke from Wave 105, the evening's entertainment started with the chefs demonstrating their signature dishes whilst taking questions from the audience, with all the tricks of the trade being followed closely on screen thanks to Thornden Hall's video technician, Ian Fraser, who volunteered his services.

For starters, Hotel du Vin Winchester's head chef Adam Fargin and junior chef de partie Craig Parsons created mi-cuit of Test trout with romesco sauce accompanied by parpadelle of courgettes and lobster bisque caviar, followed by roast rack of Hampshire lamb with sauté of rainbow carrots, pea cannelloni and pistachio & brioche stuffing. On the other side of the stage, Andy MacKenzie, executive head chef of Lainston House, and junior sous chef Chris Barnes prepared poached lobster with garden vegetable and shellfish vinaigrette, followed by organic lamb saddle with crispy belly, carrot puree and wilted greens.

Eight members of the audience who had earlier won a place at the chefs' tables then sampled the dishes and were asked for their feedback.

In the second half of the show, the chefs were presented with identical goody bags containing mystery ingredients for the second challenge, including a fillet of rose veal and a variety of vegetables and apples. The teams were then given 40 minutes to rustle up two new dishes, for a main course and dessert.

When the 40 minutes were up, a fresh jury of tasters at the chefs' tables were asked for their opinions of the two veal dishes, and then the audience proceeded to vote for their favourite dish. The show of coloured cards followed, resulting in a draw and winning medals were presented to both teams by volunteer event organiser, Katy Metson. The evening finished with a fun omelette-cooking contest between the two head chefs. Following a blind tasting by a member of the audience, Andy MacKenzie of Lainston House Hotel was declared the winner of the omelette challenge.

"The chefs were entertaining as well as informative - It all looked fabulous. We went home and made an omelette!!!!"


"Would just like to say how immensely proud I was to be part of the team to bring Chef's Challenge to fruition. What a fantastic, entertaining and truly, truly professional evening. With £8,500 raised for charity being the end result. Wow!" - Carl Pyatt (Manager, Thornden Hall)


Our second event, which was organised in association with Wave 105, raised £8,500 with 50% of the proceeds going to their 'Cash for Kids' appeal. Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance Service and Macmillan Cancer Support each received 25%. 


Chewton Glen vs Lime Wood
12th July 2010
£1,880 raised

After weeks of careful planning our Chewton Glen v Lime Wood Charity Chefs' Challenge went off without a hitch at Ballard School Performing Arts Centre in New Milton on Monday 12th July. Hosted by Hampshire chef, Alex Aitken, and Chewton Glen's Chef Sommelier, Alan Holmes, the evening's programme provided live culinary theatre at its best, with fantastic dishes being created by Nick Hewitt and Oliver Marlow from Chewton Glen and Luke Holder and Richard Lloyd from Lime Wood (pictured here with Alex Aitken) and plenty of audience participation. £1,880 was raised for the two charities - Joseph Patrick Trust and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance.

Part of the Hampshire Food Festival, the evening was a celebration of cooking with fresh local, seasonal produce and Michelin starred Alex Aitken and renowned Chef Sommelier, Alan Holmes, co-hosted the proceedings with masterly flair. Luke Holder and Richard Lloyd of Lime Wood got the show off to a great start, with two mouth-watering dishes, 'Sea Trout with Basil & Courgette Puree' and 'Venison with Coffee & Beetroot’. 

For each course, two lucky members of the audience sat at the chefs' table to sample the fabulous food and taste the fine wine chosen Alan Holmes to complement that dish. It was a lovely informal evening, with Alex, Alan and the teams of chefs answering questions throughout the show.

Following the break, Nick Hewitt and Oliver Marlow from Chewton Glen demonstrated their dishes created specially for the event - 'Local Plaice Braised in New Forest Cider' and 'Jelly and Ice Cream’. At the end of the show everyone had the chance to vote for their favourite dishes by holding up a green or red card. The result was too close to call and so was declared a draw.

The evening finished with a fun omelette-cooking contest. A member of the audience was asked to adjudicate and Chewton Glen won the omelette challenge by a whisker. Medals were presented to all contestants and then the raffle prizes were drawn.


"Well done! It was a brilliant evening. We all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, especially Beverly, who had a dinner date thrown in!" 
Louise W"


Our first Chef's Challenge raised £1,880, which was shared by the Joseph Patrick Trust and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance Service.