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Chef finalists announced in Weetabix Food and Drink Awards

The chefs in the running for honours at the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards have been revealed.

The shortlists were compiled after cook-off competitions using local ingredients and the winners will be announced at the awards dinner in October.

The Booker Young Chef of the Year final in the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards competition took place on 29th July at Northampton College.

The four finalists, all aged under 24, were asked to prepare, cook and present the judges with a chicken and ham pie using Northamptonshire produce, including chicken from Pastures Poultry, ham from Sauls of Spratton and Jeyes’s Northamptonshire Sauce from Jeyes of Earls Barton.

The young chefs had two hours to complete the challenge in front of the Award judges which included Chris Jackson (Catering Development Manager of Booker, Northampton), Phil Martin (Curriculum Manager for Culinary, Hospitality and Tourism at Northampton College), Mary Laing (Awards Patron) and Charles Banks (Director and Co-Founder of The Food People).

The judges commented that “the group of Booker Young Chef of the Year finalists this year were an exceptionally gifted and skilled group of individuals who each cooked a chicken and ham pie dish to a high standard”.

The four Booker Young Chef finalists were:

Shawn Monk – The Falcon, Fotheringhay

Ellie Galloway – The Church, Northampton

David Smith – The Palmichael, Burton Latimer

Louis Scott – formerly of the White Swan

Meanwhile, the senior Chef of the Year competition, sponsored by Dawn Farms, took place earlier in the month at The Manor House, Tresham College, Corby.

The chefs had to take part in a fifteen minute skills test, preparing two fillets of sea bass before cooking a dish using the sea bass and langoustines, followed by a dessert for a vegan diet using Weetabix.

The judges included Awards Patron and food writer Susanna Booth who noted that “the chefs were so impressive to watch and taste their own interpretations using the local ingredients provided”. The judging panel was also made up of highly decorated foodies including former Northampton College student, Simon Dyer, who was previously Executive Chef to the Virgin Group and Gordon Ramsey’s restaurants.  The judges commented that the standard of cooking and skills was impressive given the time restrictions for planning and execution.

The four Chef finalists are:

Michael O’Gorman – Side Order Catering

Jim Millar – The Willow and Brook, Apethorpe

Zak Perrin – The Falcon, Fotheringhay

Bart Polinski – The Orangery, Delapre Abbey

The results of both competitions will be announced at the Awards ceremony and dinner held later in October.

For more information on the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2021/22, please visit www.northamptonshirefoodanddrink.co.uk or call Rachel Mallows on 01933 664437 or email rachel@themallowscompany.com

Meanwhile, to keep up to date with the latest news, please follow the Awards on Facebook at @foodawards or Twitter and Instagram at @foodawardsHQ or on LinkedIn at @weetabixnfadawards using the hashtag #WNFDA21.

I'm the editor and owner of The NeneQuirer.

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