Tom McLachlan has been named the De Vere Academy of Hospitality's National Chef of the Year.
McLachlan, 24, beat 99 other apprentices to carry off the title. Following eight regional finals, he joined 15 young chefs in the final cook-off in London, where his dishes of roast rack of lamb Provençal with baby vegetables, mashed potato and a jus reduction, followed by raspberry and chocolate cake, most impressed the judges.
Amongst the panel of judges were Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood, executive head chef of De Vere Venues, John Woodward, executive head chef of Charlton Athletic Football Club, and Jeff Galvin of Galvin Restaurants.
After joining the De Vere Academy of Hospitality in Greenwich - one of nine similar academies nationwide - in March 2011 as an intermediate professional cookery apprentice, McLachlan signed on to become an advanced professional cookery apprentice in July. As part of his training, he had undertaken a work placement at the Spread Eagle in Greenwich.
McLachlan's prize included a set of limited edition Global knives, a glass trophy, a chef's jacket signed by Paul Hollywood, a Michel Roux cook book, and various kitchen utensils.
He is seen here with Andrew Coppell, group chef executive of the De Vere Group (left) and Steven Kavanagh, chief executive of Charlton Athletic Football Club (right).
By Janet Harmer
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Published by: The Caterer