Ellie Shaw of the Clink restaurant has been named the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs GB Young Chef of the Year; while Paul Robineau, now at 110 de Taillevent, won the Young Sommelier of the Year award.
The two title holders will go on to represent Great Britain in the World Championships in France next September – Paris for the Young Chef cook-off, and Bordeaux for the Young Sommelier contest.
Young sommeliers and chefs from all over the country battled their way through to the finals back in March, and the winners were due to be announced at a dinner at the Dorchester in London later that month. However the coronavirus outbreak meant their achievements were finally recognised this week at a pared-down party at Pennyhill Park in Bagshot, Surrey.
Shaw, 23, is sous chef trainer at the Clink restaurant, HMP Brixton, the charity that trains prisoners to prepare them for a career in hospitality.
She triumphed at Unilever's Knorr Kitchen in Leatherhead, where she created a menu from a list of mystery market ingredients. Her winning dishes were grilled trout with rillette, crème fraiche, apple and dill oil; steak and oyster mushroom pie, caramelised shallots, Savoy cabbage, sage potato tuille and beer sauce; and apple and ginger crumble, poached rhubarb and orange chantilly.
She beat Eden Allsworth of Cliveden House, who came second, with Liam Stofer of Mosimanns, who was highly commended.
Shaw, from Stoke on Trent, originally studied art at college, but then received a first-class degree in culinary art at the University of West London. Her prizes included stages at both Mosimanns and a Michelin-starred restaurant in Holland to help her prepare for the World Championships, plus a set of chef's knives and a magnum of Exton Park English sparkling wine.
She said: "This is my first competition. I was happy just to be selected for the final – and was definitely not expecting to win the actual title. When creating this surprise menu, I decided to stick to what I knew and not overcomplicate anything, so I concentrated on British classics that diners would order in a restaurant."
Robineau said: "I am so happy to hear the news at last. It has been nerve-wracking. I was third in the competition last year, so feel very honoured to come top this time."
His prizes included a Champagne sabre, bottles of both Nyetimber and Ridgeview blanc de blanc sparkling wine, and a personal tour and tasting at Ridgeview Estate.
The 27-year-old, originally from the Loire, studied viticulture in Burgundy. After a spell in Australia, he joined Heston Blumenthal's three-Michelin-starred Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire, under the tutelage of Isa Bal. A year at the two-Michelin-starred Moor Hall in Lancashire followed, working under Alex Freguin, before the Dorchester, where he was working while he took part in the contests. A month ago, he was appointed head sommelier at 110 de Taillevent.
In March, the sommelier finalists took part in a fiercely contested final at the Gaggenau Showrooms in London where they had to pass a theory test, successfully blind taste six wines and show off their service skills.
Coming second was Melania Battiston of Medlar in Chelsea, and jointly in third position were Zareh Mesrobyan from Cliveden House and Tony Lecuroux from Moor Hall. Battison was also presented with the Gerard Basset Trophy for the Best Taster.
Phillip Evins, Bailli Délégué for the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs GB, said: "Thank goodness we had completed the finals before lockdown in March. The challenge then for us was to organise a suitable occasion where the prizes could be presented in person, and the winners' achievements could be celebrated.
"In Ellie and Paul we have two very worthy winners, indicative of the amazing talent we see in our young professionals today. On behalf of all the members of the Chaîne in this country, we salute them."