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Acorn winner 2007: Lisa Allen

Acorn winner 2007: Lisa Allen

Lisa Allen

Age: 26

Position: Head Chef, Northcote Manor, Langho, Blackburn, Lancashire

Career to date…

On graduating from Lancaster & Morecambe College in 2000, Allen spent nearly two years working at Holbeck Ghyll in the Lake District and the two-Michelin-starred Le Champignon Sauvage in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. In 2001, she took a demi-chef-de-partie position at Northcote Manor, where a series of annual promotions resulted in her attaining the role of head chef in April 2005, under the direction of chef-patron Nigel Haworth.

Why is she a winner?

Since taking up her current position, Allen has helped Northcote Manor retain its Michelin star and has proved herself to be a skilful manager of both staff and budgets. In addition to being responsible for 14 staff, Allen controls an annual food budget of £750,000. Through shrewd purchasing − and by putting a lot of effort into building strong relations with her suppliers − in her two years as head chef she has helped to improve what was already a very respectable food margin by 2%.

Not content with life in the kitchen, Allen has also thrown herself into public relations, improving the image and reputation of Northcote Manor by arranging stages for her team and through her own impressive showings in major competitions such as Young Chef Young Waiter and the Roux Scholarship. She has also proved to be an excellent ambassador for the industry – for example, by assisting in cookery demonstrations at local schools in a bid to encourage young people to enter the industry. She now has her eyes firmly fixed on winning a second star for Northcote Manor.

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