Blacker gives them the bird in Charlton chef-off

Given all the free lunches and lavish hospitality they enjoy, it’s a wonder that any marketing manager can work out how to plug in a toaster, never mind rustle up a bit of haute cuisine. However, Mark Blacker, marketing chief at independent foodservice company Charlton House, knows his onions.

Blacker came second in the Charlton House National Salon Culinaire – a Ready, Steady, Cook-style cook-off – beating some of the best professional chefs in the company. Blacker’s made “duck served on a tower of sweet potato purée topped with crispy fried cabbage, with crunchy lardons and wild mushrooms dressed with a chilli and lime coulis. The dish was accompanied with roasted baby aubergines and tamarinds”. The Diary understands about a third of that. Dessert was an assiette of blackberry cheesecake, apple tarte tartin, apple crumble and a red berry syllabub, confirming the Diary’s suspicion that whoever wrote the press release got bored and started making up words. However, there is a secret to Blacker’s success. He’s a trained chef masquerading in another profession, a little like Steven Seagal in Under Siege. All of which makes beating chefs at their own game a little less impressive.

In his day job, Blacker is busy redesigning Charlton House’s website. Maybe he should get the company’s chefs to give him a handâ¦

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