The challenge is to imagine you will be entertaining four friends for Friday- night dinner. You will be offering your guests an interesting, delicious, informal meal, which should take no more than two hours to prepare and cook. Three principles should govern the menu. First, it must be seasonal, using ingredients at their best (the final of the competition will be held on 27 June). Second, it must be well balanced, with respect to flavours, textures, temperatures and colours. Third, we want you to demonstrate an awareness of ingredient quality, showing you have used shopping skills to make discerning choices.
Our judges will be looking for an honest reflection of the food you like to eat, so do not look for sophisticated dishes and techniques with which to impress. The judges will be: Jean-Christophe Novelli, chef at the Four Seasons Hotel in London W1; Annie Freel, marketing director for Lurpak; Shaun Hill, head chef at Gidleigh Park; and, from the Independent, Emily Green (restaurant reviewer), Sophie Grigson (cookery writer) and Joanna Blythman (food writer).
HOW TO ENTER
Type or clearly write your menu, complete with individual recipes. On a separate sheet, attach your name, address and daytime telephone number. Post it (no faxes) to: The Lurpak/Independent/ Four Seasons Cook Competition 1994, Weekend, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB, to arrive by Friday 27 May. Entries cannot be acknowledged.
This will be held at the Four Seasons Hotel on Monday 27 June for the six entrants whose menus have shown the most promise. Each must bring his or her ingredients. All utensils will be provided, but you may bring any items which you particularly like. Not more than pounds 40 should be spent on ingredients; finalists' costs will be reimbursed, including travel expenses up to pounds 100.
The Cook of the Year will win pounds 1,000 and a three-day, all-expenses-paid food tour to an Italian city, with a partner, and accompanied by Joanna Blythman of the Independent. The other five finalists will each win pounds 500, plus dinner for two and an overnight stay at the five- star Four Seasons Hotel in London.