Ruth Hansom, the first ever female winner of National Young Chef of the Year, has announced plans to open her own restaurant later this year.
22-year-old Hansom, formerly a demi chef de partie at the Michelin-starred Ritz London, has developed a modern British concept called Epoch with business partner Emily Lambert, the Ritz's first female sommelier.
The restaurant is due to open in August and Hansom and Lambert will appear on BBC Two's Million Pound Menu at the beginning of May to pitch the concept.
She said: "My latest project to date is my own restaurant with business partner, Emily Lambert. We plan to open in August of this year. The details I can't go into too much as it will appear on BBC Two's Million Pound Menu at the beginning of May."
She revealed the news as she announced she is to become a chef patron for the Association of Catering Excellence (ACE).
She joins fellow chef Adam Handling as well as patrons Chris Sheppardson (Chess Partnership), Marc Verstringhe, Wendy Bartlett (Bartlett Mitchell), Jane Sunley (Purple Cubed), Rosemary Osbourne, Alastair Storey (BaxterStorey) and Chris Bray (Sodexo).
ACE is focusing on getting young people in the industry more involved in networking. Young members have been invited to events such as the association's Charity Dinner and Ready Steady Cook, which now has a special award for chefs under 25, and for which Hansom will be a judge in September.
Hansom said: "I'm really looking forward to getting involved with Ready Steady Cook. I'm hoping younger judges will help put some of the younger contestants at ease. It can be quite daunting being judged by experienced, senior chefs, especially if you're testing out modern interpretations and new flavour combinations."
ACE chair, Gaye Bullard, said: "We're delighted to welcome Ruth as a patron and judge. She has clearly got ambition and drive and I'm sure she'll bring a fresh new perspective to our mission to make networking appealing to young people."
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