Zilli adds to Italian flavour

Celebrity chef heads north to judge this year’s Scottish Italian Awards

• The celebrity touch: Aldo Zilli (centre) judged two categories for this year’s awards.

CELEBRITY chef Aldo Zilli made the journey north to Scotland earlier this month to offer his critical eye as a judge for the 2014 Scottish Italian Awards.

Zilli visited Ayrshire and Clydebank to deliver his verdict on two of the biggest titles on offer at this year’s awards event – the Italian Chef of the Year and Scotland’s Best Pizza.
The celebrity chef met with the ten finalists in the Chef of the Year category at The Cook School Scotland in Ayrshire, where they were put through their paces in a ‘Hell’s Kitchen’-style cook-off.
The competing chefs were tasked with creating one of Zilli’s own dishes. Zilli then travelled to New Concept’s kitchens in Clydebank to judge the ten finalists competing in the Best Pizza category.
The two winners, along with those in 16 other categories, will be announced at an awards dinner held in the Thistle Hotel, Glasgow, on October 26.
This year’s ceremony will be hosted by Commonwealth Games closing ceremony host and radio DJ Des Clarke.
Over 700 guests are expected to attend the ceremony including Zilli and Scottish designer John Amabile, both of whom will be on hand to present awards.
The Scottish Italian Awards was launched in 2013 and recognises Italian catering businesses across 18 different categories including Best Italian Restaurant, Best Fish and Chips and Best Wine List.
Finalists for the awards were chosen in a public poll conducted over three months up to October.
Over 30,000 votes are said to have been cast with one thousand Scottish-Italian owned businesses nominated.
Award winners from the 16 categories not judged by Zilli were selected after a series of visits by separate judges, with scores collated to establish a winner.
Scottish Italian Awards chief executive, Warren Paul, said the team behind the awards is “delighted with the response from Scottish Italians and the larger community”.
“Their enthusiasm for this ever growing event has been incredible,” said Paul.
“We are very proud to be raising the profile and awareness for all Italians living and working here in Scotland.
“Having Aldo [Zilli] on board cements how serious this competition is, and giving the chefs the extra challenge of cooking one of his dishes in-front of the man himself added another level to the whole competition; we’re all excited to see who he picks as his winners.”