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Over the past twelve years I have had the privilege and honour to be part of the Senior National Team, organised by the British Culinary Federation. I remember the first time I was asked to be part of the National Team which had been rekindled by the BCF and gave chefs the opportunity once again to compete for their country on the culinary world stage. It was one of the highlights of my competition journey.

Having competed in the World Cup winning team in Luxembourg with the Combined Services Culinary Arts Team (CSCAT) in 1998 and entering as an individual in Berlin and Erfurt at the Olympics and then leaving the services in 1999, it was great to be part of a team again, especially the National Team.

I have had the opportunity to work with some great chefs during this time as team competitor and Team Coach: Simon Hulstone, Adam Smith, Simon Webb, Mark Hill, Andy Ditchfield and many more.

As a team, we have been through some great times and tough times, days when the world feels like it is against you and things don’t go to plan, but like all great teams you adapt and overcome, dust yourselves off and get back in the kitchen and go and deliver.

I remember in 2016 as Coach to the team, we were in Erfurt at the Olympics. We had a great place to work, we had a great team with our eyes truly set on gold. We had the good fortune that year to have a supplier called Jimmy Buchan of Amity Fish in Scotland who wanted to support the team with scallops on what I can only describe as a complicated dish comprising of smoked eel and scallops.

Not only did we want live eels transported to Germany, but we needed fresh hand dived scallops for the Live competition as well, 140 of them all sized correctly. (we don’t make life easy for ourselves)

The trouble is, we needed them 8 days after we had left the UK. We took delivery of the eels the night before and, due to a courier error, many of them had suffocated on route to us. We could not waste this precious cargo, so decided to prep them and freeze them before travelling. We had no choice.

As for the scallops Amity Fish harvested them and drove them all the way to Germany the day before our competition so they were as fresh as if we were holding the competition in Scotland. Terrific support and service for the team and from many other sponsors over the years.

Needless to say, the team cooked their hearts out and England won a gold medal, the first in the hot kitchen. It was amazing, this was probably my proudest moment in my competition career but not as a competitor but as England’s National Team Coach.

Having competed with the National Team at three World Cups and three Culinary Olympics, and this year returning back from its new venue in Stuttgart at the beginning of 2020 with two very credible silver medals.

It is, however, now time for me to step back from the National Team and hand the baton on to someone new. I will still stay on as an Ambassador and Technical Advisor and offer support where I can as the next chapter of this great National Team will unfold.

I would personally like to thank all the sponsors for their support of the National Team over the years. Without them and many highly committed and skilled chefs, none of this would have been possible. It has been an honour and a pleasure to be part of it and I thank the British Culinary Federation for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to do something that very few of us get a chance to do.

Nick Vadis

National Team Coach

England National Culinary Team

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