Food and Drink: Thanks for giving us six of the best

THE Lurpak/Independent/Four Seasons Hotel cookery competition has been a great success - and it has not happened yet. The competition takes place on 27 June; but last week's deadline for entries brought a huge response, with a postbag more than twice as big as for last year's competition. Sifting through them to find the six best menus was a tough job.

There was a surfeit of lamb and salmon; and anybody who did not offer red fruit and cream for dessert stood out from the crowd. Also, our insistence that the first principle of the menu was that it should be seasonal seemed to have escaped some entrants' notice. Nevertheless, the quality of the entries was generally very high. The six best came from the following readers, who will cook their meals in the kitchen of the Four Seasons Hotel, London. They are:

Roger Ashby of Sidford, Devon;

Jo Hamilton of London SE1;

Antony Kwok of London W11;

TD Lewis of Bridgwater, Somerset;

Mary MacRae of London SE4;

Giles Reilly of Dublin 8.

The finalists will win pounds 500, plus dinner and an overnight stay for two at the Four Seasons Hotel. At least, all except one of them will: the 1994 Lurpak/Independent/Four Seasons Cook of the Year, chosen at the final by a judging panel consisting of Jean-Christophe Novelli (chef at the Four Seasons), Annie Freel (marketing director for Lurpak), Shaun Hill (head chef at Gidleigh Park), Joanna Blythman, Emily Green and Sophie Grigson, will take the top prize of pounds 1,000 plus a three-day, all-expenses-paid food trip for two to an Italian city.

Our commiserations to those of you who did not make it to the final. Please try again next year: don't forget that Priya Wickramasinghe was a runner-up in our 1992 competition, but entered again in 1993 - and won.