Millbrook Lodge Chef Wins UK Heat Of World Pesto Championships

Gerard Sands, Head Chef from the Millbrook Lodge Hotel in Ballynahinch has won the UK Heat of the World Pesto Championships. Ten people competed for the prize at the Titanic Hotel in Belfast. They included chefs, food producers, home cooks and catering students.

They had to use pestles and mortars to make the traditional Italian sauce which contains olive oil, garlic, basil, pine nuts and seasoning.  Participants had 30 minutes to make their pesto.

The heat took place at the recently opened Titanic hotel’s restaurant and adjoining cocktail bar. The winner will go to Genoa in Italy to take part in the finals of the Seventh World Pesto Championships.

Reacting to his win, Gerard Sands said

“It was great to be asked by Food NI to participate in this international competition. It is fantastic to compete beside such esteemed chefs and amazing food producers and it is so good that the event was hosted in this spectacular venue, Titanic Hotel.

“I am delighted to represent our chefs in the final and I want to thank Food NI for bring these illustrious events to Northern Ireland, raising the profile of Northern Irish food.’

Michael McGarrity (home cook) came second. Andy Provan, Head Chef at Deane’s Meatlocker came third.

The event was brought to Belfast by the Associazione Culturale Dei Palatifini from Italy in conjunction with Food NI. Italian judge Roberto Panizza was in Belfast to decide on the winner.

Local drinks producers Hercules Brewing, JawBox Gin, Ruby Blue and Farmaggedon Brewery gave out samples to visitors and spectators.