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Catering Colleges Competition

The UK has an increasing number of people enjoying vegetarian meals, the popularity of which can be clearly seen in the burgeoning range appearing in many restaurants and supermarkets.  Recent reports have suggested that as much as half of the UK population could be vegetarian or vegan in less than 20 years.  The next generation of chefs are starting to seize the trend and developing new and exciting vegetarian options. 

Following the success of last year’s event, the International Wine and Food Society (the world’s oldest and largest wine and food organisation) is organising this competition for the highly-talented young chefs now making their way through the Northern Catering Colleges to find the best plate of food made exclusively with vegetarian ingredients.  Sponsorship for the competition is being generously provided by The Vegetarian Society, which has more than 50,000 members, and recently celebrated its 175th anniversary.  The competition will showcase:

  • Fabulous vegetarian ingredients, demonstrating their quality and versatility in modern cuisine
  • Our regional catering colleges and the extraordinary talents of their staff and students
  • The opportunities that hospitality offers for a worthwhile career
  • The outstanding range of wines available from independent wine retailers in the UK, together with a demonstration of the benefit of pairing the correct wine with the correct food for a truly synergistic tasting experience!

The Competition will reach its climax on 12th May at a prestigious awards lunch to be held at Bolton University, where we will present four awards to students for the best original vegetarian dishes.

The Competition

We are inviting up to 10 Northern catering colleges to participate in the competition.  There are 3 stages:

  1. a heat at each college during February and March (one morning or one afternoon) where we will pick 2 students to progress to the Final. A team of IWFS members, college tutors and chefs from The Vegetarian Society will judge this stage.  A core ingredients pack [details TBC] will be sent to colleges in time for the heats;
  2. a grand Final, to be held at Warrington College on Friday 21st April. This will be judged by a team of well-known chefs, led by Paul Heathcote MBE; and
  3. the Awards Lunch where we will present trophies and prizes to the winning students. The Lunch will be hosted by award-winning professional chef and Great British menu contestant Stephanie Moon, who works closely with many of the colleges being represented.

Students at each college will compete to produce a main dish which includes at least one of the following 4 ingredients: Beetroot, Potato (to include all derivatives), Rhubarb and Tofu.  Students will have 90 minutes to create their individual entries.

The Awards Lunch

The winners will be presented with a trophy celebrating their success in the competition and the surprise winners will only be announced at the Awards Lunch. The lunch will be for 80-100 people, comprising members of the IWFS, representatives of the Vegetarian Society, other sponsors, Bolton College, together with two winning students and a tutor from each college on a complementary basis.  The general public are also very welcome to attend. Relatives of the winning students will be offered a discounted booking.

The meal will feature manifestations of vegetables paired with wines to accompany each dish.

The Awards

The four student winners will receive a trophy, a winner’s certificate and funds celebrating their success in the competition.

The colleges will receive an IWFS Excellence Award, valid for 2 years (extendable) which can be displayed at their premises.

Every student entering the competition will also receive an IWFS certificate.

Wine Pairing

The IWFS was founded on Andre Simon’s premise that a “right understanding of good food and wine is an essential part of personal contentment and health”. In particular, the pairing of wine and food together create a fusion greater than the sum of the individual parts. The Society has several distinguished Masters of Wine (MW) as members, who will form part of the team selecting the wines for the event.


The event will be publicised through multiple media:

  1. a) Direct email to almost 1,000 members of the IWFS
  2. b) Social Media
  3. c) Press releases to local/national newspapers and TV/radio channels
  4. d) Sponsor and the Colleges’ own public relations.