Business bosses aiming to stir things up

A CHARITY cook-off will bring seven well-known Manchester business leaders together in a MasterChef-style competition, judged by three celebrity chefs.

The winner will be announced at a one-of-a-kind gala dinner — cooked by two Michelin star winning chefs and one local hero MasterChef winner.

Top bosses from AJ Bell, Rothschild and Duerr & Sons will be among those chopping, stirring and serving up for charity, with all the proceeds going to Bpositive, a small but growing cancer charity.

Due to be filmed this month at The French restaurant in The Midland, footage of the cook-off will be broadcast at an exclusive gala dinner, set to take place at the same venue on 23 June.
The dinner, organised by TM Group UK, will be cooked by local restaurateurs and celebrated chef rivals Aiden Byrne and Simon Rogan, along with ex-MasterChef winner Simon Wood. Each celebrity chef will cook one course for a unique fine dining experience.
Tickets for the gala dinner are limited to just 150.

TM Group UK director Kevin Spencer said: “A lot of people think that the chefs hate each other because there is some rivalry over who will bring a Michelin star back to Manchester, but they all get along well really.”

The chefs will provide some expert instruction to seven directors on May 16. Each director will then have two hours to cook a signature dish. Their culinary skills will then be judged by the professionals before a winner is announced at gala event in June.

The Bpositive charity helps support people and families that are affected by acute leukaemia. It works closely with the Christie hospital in Manchester.
Spencer said: “We would love to raise around £25,000, but this is also about boosting the profile of what is quite a small charity.”

Participants in the cook off include Andy Bell, CEO and founder of AJ Bell, Andy Thomas, MD at Rothschild and Mark Duerr, MD at family jam-maker Duerr & Sons.

Also taking part will be Steve O’Hare, director at Equistone, Eddie Bredenhan, business development and marketing director at Pochins, Guy Topping, MD at Barton Grange Group Limited and Adele Carr of Adele Carr Financial Recruitment.

Andy Bell of the AJ Bell investment company said: “I wouldn’t say I’m well known for my cooking skills. I love food but I think I fall more on the eating side of things than the cooking. I’m not ruling myself out, but I am not going to make any bold claims at this stage.”

He is excited to have an opportunity to learn from the best: “Simon Rogan’s other restaurant, L’Enclume in Cartmel is probably one of my top two favourite places to eat.

“I’ve been to Manchester House too and Aiden Byrne is clearly talented as well. It will be interesting to see if either of them can bring a Michelin star back to Manchester. There is definitely a demand for it, more and more people that I speak to here are willing to spend extra money on really high quality restaurants.”

Mark Duerr of Duerr and Sons said: “I’ve no idea what the competition is going to be like, but I think we’re all very competitive people and no one will be holding back. There’s an email chain going around with lots of fighting talk and jokes about microwaves and pot noodles.

“Everyone is keeping what they’re cooking secret at the moment, but I will say that it’s going to be something traditional and its going to use three Duerr & Sons products.”