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Competition Sets Out to Find the Perfect Fusion

May 5, 2010 by John Collingwood

Two North East entrepreneurs are teaming up in the hunt to find the region’s perfect fusion of food and drink with a unique new competition that promises some special evenings out for discerning diners.

Fusion 2010, which will takes place at the Newcastle Marriott Gosforth Park Hotel across seven nights in July, brings together eight of the region’s top chefs with eight leading mixologists. The dynamic duos will work together in pairs to create the perfect union of food and drink.

The contest is the brainchild of John Collingwood, a veteran cocktail expert who runs Want to impress, and Rachel McManus, owner of Pzazz Events, one of the North East’s leading Event Management companies. Each evening will host 180 dinner guests who will see the dishes and cocktails being prepared by two of the participating pairs. They will then try out the tantalising combinations and decide to vote for who should advance to the next stage.

“This is a unique and innovative event that we’re looking to roll out nationwide following its launch in the North East,” said Rachel who is looking forward to showcasing regional talent and using the North East as a launch platform for what she anticipates will be a hugely successful nationwide event within the food and drink industry.

“There’s no other competition that brings together the complementary crafts of cookery and mixology, so we’re expecting some amazing creations for our guests to pass judgement on.” said John, who trained over 10,000 of the UK’s leading mixologist’s in his previous role with Bacardi.

Beginning with four heats, the winners will then advance to one of two semi-finals before the final two face off on the grand final evening. Each evening promises to deliver a totally unique dining experience with some of the finest culinary talents in the North East competing for the Fusion 2010 title.

Each course of meal will need to be accompanied by a bespoke cocktail that perfectly complements the taste and style of the dish. So far, the head chefs from Malmaison, Hotel du Vin, Jesmond Dene House and Café 21 at Fenwick have all expressed an interest in signing up.

John and Rachel are currently searching for mixologists from across the region to put themselves forward for the competition. Twenty possible contestants will be chosen for heats at The Living Room in Newcastle on Sunday 16 May from 12noon to 6pm, when eight will be chosen to go through to the main event.

An FA Cup Style draw will then take place on 20th May at Newcastle Marriott Gosforth Park Hotel, where competing Chefs and Mixologist’s will be drawn from a hat to determine the final eight teams and the dates that they will compete against each other. At this stage the competition will then determine who can and can’t stand the heat in the kitchen.

Tickets for the main event will go on sale soon and will be priced from £45. If you’re a bartender who would like to enter or a prospective diner who would like to find out more, you can call 0845 4505488 or visit