Ruth Hansom from the Ritz has been named Young National Chef of the Year 2017, beating April Lily Partridge of the Clove Club, London, who came second; and Danny Young of Northcote, Lancashire, who came third.
Hansom’s menu consisted of autumn vegetable salad, chicken liver panna cotta; Norwegian fjord trout, smoked eel and horseradish tortellini with roast beetroot, sea vegetables and orange dressing; and flourless chocolate cake, chocolate semi-freddo, malt mousseline, chocolate roasted peanuts, caramelised banana.
Ten finalists went head to head during a live final at the Restaurant Show at Olympia London today.
They were required to create a three-course menu consisting of an autumnal vegetable-inspired starter, a fish dish using sustainable Norwegian trout, and a flourless chocolate cake.
The finalists included: April Lily Partridge, the Clove Business Club, London; Arthur Bridgeman Quin, the Punchbowl Inn, Lyth Valley; Daniela Tucci, the Art School Restaurant, Merseyside; Danny Young, Northcote Manor, Lancashire; Drew Snaith, Brunswick House, London; Ruth Hansom, the Ritz, London; Jonathan Ferguson, Restaurant Andrew Fairlie, Perthshire; Reece Cosier, Landmark Hotel, London; Joel Gueller, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, Oxfordshire; and Nicolle Finnie, the Larder, Glasgow.
The judging panel was headed up by Mark Sargeant who was joined by Sophie Michell, executive chef, the Gorgeous Kitchen; Alyn Williams, head chef, Alyn Williams at The Westbury, London; Hayden Groves, executive chef, BaxterStorey; Sarah Hartnett, pastry chef; Julie Walsh, executive chef Lecturer, Le Cordon Bleu; Russell Bateman, head chef, Colette’s at The Grove; Ben Tish, chef director, Salt Yard Group; Lee Westcott, executive chef, Typing Room at Town Hall Hotel; Daniel Galmiche, chef, writer and consultant for Starhotels Group; Lahiru Jayasekara, head chef at Petrus, Gordon Ramsay Restaurants and James ‘Jocky’ Petrie, group executive development chef, Gordon Ramsay Group.
Bateman said: “The winner’s name will always be on the list. You can take that achievement with you anywhere around the world and it will open doors for you. It tells future employers or investors that you are prepared to go that extra mile, that you are not afraid of criticism – in fact, you embrace it and are prepared to grow from it. It will also expose you to a whole new world of contacts you would not normally have access to. This will really put you among the elite of young chefs.”
Young National Chef of the Year is open to chefs aged 18-23 and is in partnership with Knorr. It was created to celebrate and showcase the skills of young, upcoming chefs.
Last year’s winner was Danny Hoang from Colette’s at the Grove.