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Are you Devon’s best home chef?

PUBLISHED: 11:22 11 March 2016 | UPDATED: 11:22 11 March 2016

Devon Life Home Cook 2015

Alex Murdin

Pictures: NDPhotos

Devon Life Home Cook 2015 Alex Murdin Pictures: NDPhotos


The hunt is on to find our Devon Home Cook of the Year for 2016 so if you think you’ve got what it takes to win the title and one of our money-can’t-buy prizes read on.

Our competition is open to anyone over the age of 18 who lives in or has a home in Devon and the rules could not be easier.

The competition closing date is 5 May and our judges will then select our six semi finalists based on the three-course menus they have submitted.

Our semi finalists will cook their main dish only on the first day of our finals weekend on October 8 & 9 when our chef mentors will select the three finalists who will cook the following day for our judges. Already imagining yourself being crowned the winner? Read on...

Alex Murdin

 was our 2015 winnerAlex Murdin was our 2015 winner

The Brief

We want you to create and cook the very best three course dinner of your life. We’ll be looking for originality and creativity as well as good cooking techniques and we would like you to incorporate as many Devon ingredients into your meal as possible.

Our winner gets to cook with Michelin-starred chef Anton PiotrowskiOur winner gets to cook with Michelin-starred chef Anton Piotrowski

The Rules

We have only three rules:

You must live or have a home in Devon.

Contestants are encouraged to use local ingredientsContestants are encouraged to use local ingredients

You must be over the age of 18

You must not have cooked or taught cooking professionally and must not have any professional qualifications.

The Pitfalls

Make sure you can deliver what you promise. Last year, the judges eliminated contestants who promised one ingredient in their menu but delivered another. Also make sure you can cook your main course in one hour during the semi final and the whole menu in two hours if you are selected as a finalist.

Chef Mentors

We are working this year with three chef mentors who will help our semi finalists deliver a great main course and help us select our three finalists.

Enter Here

Email your three course menu to us by clicking herebefore the 5 May closing date. If you prefer to use the post, send your entries to Alexandra Hurley, Devon Life, Fair Oak Close, Exeter Airport Business Park, Clyst Honiton, EX5 2UL.

Make sure you include your name, address, a passport-style colour head and shoulders photograph and a daytime telephone contact number with your entry.

The competition closes on 5 May, after which you will be notified if you are one of the successful six semi finalists.

As part of the competition, the Bradburys Kitchen showroom with Miele offers each finalist specialist training on the Miele equipment featured in the kitchen showrooms. This can be at the Bradburys Exeter showroom or the Abingdon or London Miele showrooms.

The Prizes

We’ve put together the kind of foodie prizes that money cannot buy and for each of our 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize winners we can promise an unforgettable and inspiring foodie experience that will leave them a better cook than they were before they entered the contest. Here are the prizes for 2016:

1st Prize

Our winner will also get the chance to cook with Devon-born chef, Anton Piotrowski who heads up our judging panel and who earned his first Michelin star for his gastropub The Treby Arms in Sparkwell outside Plymouth in 2014. Our winner will also be invited to join the judging panel for the 2017 competition. #Priceless.

2nd Prize

We are delighted to team up with River Cottage HQ to offer our second prize winner a cookery course worth £250. Our prize winner will be able to choose from a number of the current courses including: One Day skills course which covers a range of techniques including bread making and fish filleting; Pig in a Day, Curing & Smoking, Seashore Foraging, Fish Cookery, Bread Making, Gluten Free Cookery, Get Growing, Cakes & Sweet Pastries, Hedgerow Foraging. To whet your appetite further visit

3rd Prize

Exeter-based Sylvain Peltier spent 10 years working as the head pastry chef with Michael Caines at the two Michelin-starred Gidleigh Park before branching out last year to launch his upmarket online patisserie company, Little French Cakes. You have not tasted ‘entrements’ until you have tasted one of Sylvain’s cakes. This talented chef is offering a day of patisserie tuition at the Bradburys Kitchen showroom in Exeter to our lucky third prize winner.

The Judges

Anton Piotrowski: He’s the fiery and feisty chef/owner of The Treby Arms (Sparkwell) and the Springer Spaniel (near Launceston) whose signature carrot cake dessert helped him jointly win the Masterchef Pro title in 2012. Since then, Anton has gained his first much deserved Michelin star.

Mark Dodson: Another Devon chef with a Michelin star, Mark and his team at the Masons Arms, Knowstone, in North Devon have just made it into the Top 10 of the Morning Advertiser’s best 50 Gastropubs in Britain. Mark is a real chef’s chef, respected by all who have been lucky enough to eat his food and is a welcome addition to the judging panel for 2016.

Sven-Hanson Britt: Don’t be fooled by his youth – Sven was a finalist in the BBC’s Masterchef Pro series in 2014 and recently travelled to Brazil to represent The British Embassy and act as a judge on Masterchef there. A former sous chef at The Ritz hotel in London, he once made 1,500 scones a day for the hotel’s afternoon tea service and he is now a regular visitor to Devon.

Alex Murdin: Our Home Cook winner of 2015 lives in Ashburton which informed his clever menu that combined coast and moorland ingredients. Our chef judges were impressed by Alex’s use of Devon ingredients and his attention to detail in delivering his winning menu.

Susan Clark: Susan is assistant editor at Devon Life and the LIFE Food & Drink Editor, South West titles. The author of a cookbook of her own, she is now a judge for Great Taste and Taste of the West, an invited member of the Guild of Food Writers and the founder of Love Life, Love Food bespoke food tours to Europe and further afield.

The Finals

Our six Home Cook semi finalists will cook for a place in the finals in a Masterchef-style ‘cook off’ that will be held at sponsor Bradburys Exeter kitchen showroom* over the weekend of 8 & 9 October. Each cook will have one hour on 8 October to make their main course which will be assessed by our chef mentors who will then help us select our three finalists.

The finalists will have two hours the following day (9 October) to make their full three course menu to present to the judges but the results are kept a secret until the night of the Devon Life Food & Drink awards – a glittering black tie event that takes place on the first Thursday of November (3 November) at Sandy Park.

*Semi finalists and finalists will need to bring everything they need to cook their dishes to the Bradburys showroom, ingredients, utensils and crockery for plating up.

The Devon Life Food & Drink Awards: The Winner is Announced

Our six Home Cook semi finalists and their plus ones get the chance to glam up and join us for one of the county’s top foodie nights of the year – The Devon Life Food & Drink awards which honours the region’s best chefs, cooks, cafes, restaurants, food producers and shops.

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