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7th September 2021

Two exciting cook offs took place recently in the county’s prestigious catering colleges, highlighting just how important chef skills are to our hospitality businesses.

The Booker Young Chef of the Year final in the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards competition took place on July 29th 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’ 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 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”. 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 in October.

For more information on the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2021/22, please visit or call Rachel Mallows on 01933 664437 or email [email protected]

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.

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