Students through to the finals of the Young Seafood Chef of the Year contest

30 March 2015

Two talented Gloucestershire College Catering students are through to the grand final of the UK Young Seafood Chef of the Year competition, after winning a top-three place in the regional heat, which took place at Coleg Llandrillo Cymru earlier this month.

17-year-old Jake Lusty from Drybrook and 21-year-old William Wood from Westbury-on-Severn – both studying Level 2 Catering – teamed up to create a mouth-watering three-course menu for six people, within a total budget of £90.

Seven teams battled it out in the kitchen, with the teams from Gloucestershire College, Grimsby College and Coleg Llandrillo winning the heat and those coveted places in the final.

Within the three-hour time limit, Jake and William prepared salmon fishcake with poached quail’s egg, wilted spinach, mini English muffin, hollandaise sauce and salmon crackling for starters; pan fried sea bass with fennel risotto, fennel foam and seared cherry tomato for the intermediate course; and polonaise crusted cod loin with pea puree, floret of broccoli, marquis potato and concasse tomato for the main event.

The judges included author of The Haynes BBQ Manual ‘BBQ Ben’ Bartlett, chef and food writer Denise BakerMcClearn and Seafish Events Manager Nikki Hawkins.

Now in its 16th year, the UK Young Seafood Chef of the Year competition is open to full-time and college-based modern apprentice chefs from across the UK, and has become an essential date on the hospitality calendar; giving young chefs a platform to demonstrate their flair, understanding, skill and ability using seafood from sustainable sources.

Catering Lecturer Lawrence Jeffries said: “I am immensely proud of Jake and William. They worked hard on the day and beat off some stiff opposition.

“Now they are going to develop their presentation skills further, as they are allowed to ‘tweak’ the dishes they cooked ahead of the grand final. They should do very well if they keep cool heads and present well cooked, finished dishes on the day.”

Jake and William, who are both studying at Gloucestershire College’s Royal Forest of Dean Campus, will go on to compete against the other eight regional winners in the grand final, which will take place at the Grimsby Institute University Centre on Friday 12 June.

William said: “The UK Young Seafood Chef competition was a fantastic experience for us and a great way to show our skills with seafood. There was a lot of pressure and it was hard work but worth it in the end. We’re so happy to have won the heat and are looking forward to the final in June.”

The national winners will receive a state-of-the-art Thermomix TM31 food processor, a £1,000 Russums voucher for the College, £500 per team member, a competition trophy and medals, plus the opportunity to join the brigade of chefs that will be preparing the gala dinner for delagates at the 2015 World Seafood Congress being held in Grimsby in September.

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