Hackney's New City College chefs crowned kings of barbecue

Mark Hayward from Dingley Dell Pork with The Mighty Morphin Pork Arrangers.

Hackney student chef Sam Paoli making liquid nitrogen ice cream. - Credit: New City College

A "mighty" Hackney team of chefs have been crowned champions of barbecue after going head to head in a contest against 23 teams from across the country. 

The Mighty Morphin Pork Arrangers trio was made up of student chefs Sam Paoli and Paulo De La Cruz from New City College's Hackney Campus, along with their lecturer Jeff Mason. 

They were teamed up with chefs John Jackaman and Barney O'Connell, from the Suffolk-based Infusions Group, and won the category Dirty Dozen Championship Team 2021 in the Dingley Dell Dirty Dozen competition thanks to two star dishes. 

 Mark Hayward from Dingley Dell Pork with The Mighty Morphin Pork Arrangers team.

(From left) Mark Hayward from Dingley Dell Pork with The Mighty Morphin Pork Arrangers – Barnery O’Connell, Paulo Dela Cruz, Sam Paoli, Jeff Mason, John Jackaman. - Credit: New City College

The group's winning meals included North Carolina smoked pork shoulder in a potato bun with coleslaw and vinegar sauce, and homemade black pudding. 

For dessert the team whipped up Suffolk apple crumble, treacle smoked bacon and liquid nitrogen and vanilla ice cream, which won the most points overall. 

Hackney lecturer Jeff Mason said: “Both dishes were sublime, genius, complex and real crowd pleasers. 

"Both John and Barney spent quality time mentoring Sam and Paulo through all of the various techniques and processes involved in producing and presenting these two dishes.”

During service, the team was called in to present the two dishes to the judges and, while John and Barney were explaining the dishes, the student chefs were given the complex task of preparing liquid nitrogen ice cream in front of an audience. 

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Jeff added: “This was an excellent event for our two students who got to speak to some of the industry greats, be part of an event raising money for a wonderful cause and most importantly sample some amazing food."

The event was organised by Murray Chapman who runs “A Passion to Inspire” which gives catering students a chance to work with leading chefs in the industry. 

Murray said: “The food, the fun, the banter was magical. A massive thank you to everyone who attended and supported the event."

All dishes were judged by a celebrity panel which included Dan Hawkins from the band The Darkness and the comedian Ed Gamble. 

The food was also sold to the general public and, together with a charity auction, the event raised around £6,000 for the Suffolk-based Over the Rainbow Children’s Charity.

The contest was held at Signature Brewery in Walthamstow.