The number of participants in the competition, which is organised by the Genuine Jersey Products Association, in association with Victor Hugo Wines and Laurent-Perrier Champagne, has almost doubled following the success of last year’s inaugural event, which was won by the Garden Restaurant, Jersey Pottery.
Chairman of the Association, Hamish Marett-Crosby, says: “We couldn’t have asked for a better response from the Island’s restaurants and pubs. Their support means that this year’s competition will be bigger and better, and ultimately will provide diners with a wide variety of top quality local dishes to choose from and enjoy.”
The competition aims to showcase the finest local produce by encouraging chefs to put their culinary skills to the test and create a menu which extensively features local produce. The concept is based on the practice of many established chains of hotels in France where a regional menu – a ‘Menu de Terroir’ – is offered alongside other general menus.
From now until September, diners will be able to select a ‘Menu de Terroir’ in any of the participating restaurants and pubs and enjoy the seasonal flavours of high-quality local produce. The winning menus will be judged by international food and wine writer Michael Edwards, who will visit Jersey in September.
This year’s competition includes the introduction of a new pub category, in addition to the restaurant category. As well as the main judge Michael Edwards, there will also be a panel of local mystery judges who will be visiting all the venues throughout the season to taste the food and assess the prominence of the menus.
To encourage diners to take part in the Menu de Terroir, this year’s event also includes a ‘Passport to Dinner’. Each passport lists the participating venues and gives diners the opportunity to collect Genuine Jersey stickers and enter a competition to win a magnum of Laurent-Perrier Champagne.
To collect a sticker, all you have to do is choose from a Menu de Terroir dinner or lunch menu and present your passport to the venue you are dining in. The passports can be picked up free of charge in all participating restaurants and pubs.
The winners of the Menu de Terroir 2005 will be announced at a special presentation in September to coincide with Jersey Tourism’s ‘Taste of Jersey in the Autumn’ week.
Matthew Jones, of Jersey Pottery, says they were delighted to win last year’s competition and have entered both the Garden Restaurant and the Castle Green in the 2005 event. “Our chef, Roger White, grasped the opportunity last year to use his flair to showcase the fantastic quality of local Jersey produce,” he says. “We have such a bounty of natural produce in the Island and with all the negativity around with the decline in agriculture, it is so important to raise awareness and urge the general public to cook with Jersey produce. We are very pleased that Genuine Jersey has decided to build on the success of last year’s competition and we jumped at the chance to take part again this year.