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Lee Mears shrimp is a winner at Scrum Dine With Me

WOODEN Spoon ambassador and former England and British & Irish Lion Lee Mears has been crowned Wooden Spoon Scrum Dine With Me Champion 2019 in a thrilling close call at Cinnamon Kitchen on 26 March 2019.

Scrum Dine With Me March 2019 - terrace view

A great turnout of more than 150 guests enjoyed a wonderful evening of fabulous food and fundraising in the beautiful setting of the Cinnamon Kitchen terrace and restaurant. Scrum Dine With Me is Wooden Spoon’s unique event where personalities from the world of rugby go against each other in a cook off four-course meal to raise vital funds for the children’s charity of rugby. A fantastic £20,000 was raised for Wooden Spoon which will go towards helping more children and young people with disabilities and facing disadvantage.

Lee faced tough competition from three other contestants, including former England player and last year’s crowning winner Andy Gomarsall MBE; Team GB and England 7s player Phil Burgess; and former Bath, Wasps, London Welsh and Gwent Dragons player Ed Jackson.

Scrum Dine With Me March 2019 winner Lee Mears

Scrum Dine With Me champion Lee Mears!

The dishes offered up for judging were for the starter Lee Mears’ delicious stir fry shrimp with curry leaf and black pepper (sponsored by Ward Security); for the middle course Ed Jackson’s tandoori chicken kebabs (sponsored by Nielsen); for the main course Phil Burgess’ blow your socks off madras which left everyone’s lips tingling (sponsored by VMware); and finally for the dessert, defending champion Andy Gomarsall made a cool white chocolate tart (sponsored by technologywithin) of which he said “I just wanted to cool down from the flames of Ed’s madras!”

When the results were in there was a tie between Lee Mears and Phil Burgess for the championship which was decided in the traditional rugby fashion through a boat race with contestants nominated by the two chefs with Lee Mears emerging triumphant. On winning, an ecstatic Lee said, “Winner winner chicken dinner! It’s great to be the champion tonight.”

Scrum Dine With Me March 2019 - judges

Judges: Vivek Singh and Martin Williams

Martin Williams, founder and CEO of M Restaurants & Gaucho and Vivek Singh, TV Chef and owner of Cinnamon Kitchen were the judges. While Wooden Spoon ambassador and former Sevens captain, Ollie Phillips and MC for the evening entertained the guests and gently teased the chefs.

The judges congratulated all the chefs on their dishes. Martin Williams from Gaucho said “ The dishes had an outstanding mix of textures and flavours.” Vivek Singh added, “ This year has been more competitive than usual and I would do it all over again”

Wooden Spoon, Director of Marketing, Communications and Community Investment, Juliette Gillard commented: “This has been a really successful event for Wooden Spoon. It’s a great fundraiser, fantastic fun and we have had to sample some really tasty food. Thank you to everyone who has made it a great success and to our sponsors Nielsen, VMware, Ward Security and technologywithin without whom the evening would not have been possible.”

Wooden Spoon’s 10th anniversary Scrum Dine With Me will take pace in October 2019. To reserve your place contact Ian Lindsay by email ilindsay@woodenspoon.org.uk or call him on 07760 383716.