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Bovey Castle Triumph at Battle of Eden

Eight of the country’s top chefs put their gastronomic skills to the test when they competed in the annual Battle of Eden – and around 110 guests danced up a disco storm thanks to a fabulous 1970s twist to the event.

The head chefs, each from a different hotel in the Eden Hotel Collection, descended on Mallory Court in Leamington Spa to fight for the title by taking classic dishes from the 70s and giving them a modern twist.

Eden’s Food and Beverage Director Simon Haigh says the company decided to mark the fifth anniversary of the culinary challenge by embracing the sights, sounds and tastes of the decade when disco glitter balls and flared trousers ruled.

“We took our chefs back in time to the 1970s and we challenged them to use their skills to add their own modern twist to eight classic dishes. It was a fabulous night of nostalgia where we paid tribute to this incredible decade with an eight-course dinner and wines.

“The night had everything from popular 1970s TV programmes playing in the background to menus made to look like a record and encased in a vintage record sleeve, table numbers on vinyls, disco ball centre pieces and a dressing-up table with 70s gear for guests to wear. Our staff wore wigs and big glitzy gold ties, while the chefs were all introduced to the audience to specially-selected backing tracks from the 70s.

“And we rounded off the night by recreating the feel of iconic Studio 54, which had everyone on their feet showing off their best moves!” says Simon.

Simon introduced and explained each course without revealing its creator. At the end of the evening, guests voted for their favourite and the Battle of Eden winner was crowned. Mark Budd, head chef at Bovey Castle in Dartmoor National Park, scooped the coveted trophy. Second was Adhijeet Dasalkar, head chef at The Arden Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon, with Stephen Walker, head chef at The Mount Somerset Hotel and Spa near Taunton, finishing third.

The first prize was an overnight stay and dinner in a London hotel with a Michelin star, the second prize was £250 Robert Welch vouchers towards chefs knives, and the third prize was an overnight stay, including dinner, bed and breakfast, in an Eden hotel.

Mark Chambers, Managing Director of the Eden Hotel Collection, says: “It was an amazing event to mark the fifth anniversary of the Battle of Eden. The theme went down a storm and everyone really got into the spirit, taking selfies and using the dressing up box of props. For us it is always the event of the year and there is a real sense of team spirit among the Eden family.

“I was astonished at the incredible interpretation of such classic dishes, done in a very modern way, and of the innovation that was applied by the chefs who all nailed their dishes. We’ve had brilliant feedback from guests and we’re already looking forward to next year’s event.”


Pate: Mark Budd, Bovey Castle (WINNER)
Layered duck confit flavoured with orange, Cinzano jelly, maraschino cherry, duck liver parfait

Quiche: Ted Ruewell, Buckland Tout-Saints
Crab, smoked bacon, shallots, mayonnaise, savoury pastry

Prawn cocktail: Ian Percival, The Kings
Prawn mousse, cucumber jelly, brown bread panna cotta, avocado sorbet, squid ink cracker, pipette Marie Rose sauce

Sole Veronique: Adam Brown, Brockencote Hall
Warm terrine, spinach mousse, golden raisins and purée, Verjus scented jelly, grapes

Coq au vin: Adhijeet Dasalkar, The Arden Hotel (2nd PLACE)
Filled breast of chicken with mushrooms, crispy drumstick braised in red wine, bacon boulangere

Beef stroganoff: Robin Dudley, The Greenway Hotel and Spa
Beef fillet, king oyster mushroom, puffed rice, paprika

Arctic roll: Paul Foster, Mallory Court
Yoghurt parfait in a raspberry gel, pistachio cake, apple and vanilla purée, pistachio

Black Forest gateau: Stephen Walker, The Mount Somerset Hotel and Spa (3rd PLACE)
Layers of sponge, ganache, cherry mousse, chocolate soil, kirsch crème fraiche sherbet, cherry gel, chocolate beignet.

For more information about the Eden Hotel Collection, the AA Small Hotel Group of the Year 2014 / 2015, visit www.edenhotelcollection.com

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Notes to editors:

  • The Eden Hotel Collection comprises eight luxury hotels, restaurants and spas. They are Mallory Court, Leamington Spa; Buckland Tout-Saints Hotel, Devon; The Kings Hotel, Cotswolds; The Arden Hotel, Stratford-upon-Avon; Brockencote Hall Hotel, Worcestershire; The Greenway Hotel and Spa, Cheltenham; The Mount Somerset Hotel and Spa, Somerset and Bovey Castle, Dartmoor.
  • For more information visit www.edenhotelcollection.com
  • The Eden Hotel Collection is part of The Rigby Group Plc, one of the UK’s largest and most successful family-owned businesses. Founded by IT entrepreneur Sir Peter Rigby, the Group’s portfolio spans hotels, aviation, technology, property and investments.
  • The Eden Hotel Collection has evolved over the last 15 years through the acquisition and restoration by The Rigby Group of carefully-chosen hotels, each with unique attributes but all offering the same impeccable standards of service, quality and attention to detail.


Jeff Sims and Leah Taylor at Edwards Harvey PR, tel 01622 604600 or email
jeff.sims@edwardsharvey.com / leah.taylor@edwardsharvey.com