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Belfast chef named 2008 Gordon Ramsay Scholar

02 December 2008 by

Stephen Hope, junior sous chef at the Great Room Restaurant at the Merchant Hotel in Belfast, Northern Ireland, has been crowned as the winner of the 2008 Gordon Ramsay Scholarship.

The 21-year old beat off stiff competition in the final held at the BBC Good Food Show in Birmingham, including David Salt from Club Gascon, Tim Ward fron Read's Restaurant and the Castle Green Hotel's Martin Frickel.

As the 2008 Gordon Ramsay Scholar, Hope wins a new car, £5,000 in cash, a set of Wusthof knives, a £10,000 oven for The Great Room Restaurant kitchens, a signature Bragard jacket and a commemorative trophy.

He will also enjoy a three-city stage, training with chefs in Gordon Ramsay's signature restaurants in London, Paris and New York.

However, the final almost proved a disaster for Hope when he realised he had made a crucial mistake with his dessert.

Ramsay saw the problem and asked Hope what he planned to do to rectify the situation. Hope said he would "start from scratch" to which Ramsay replied: "You'd better grab your balls and get on with it then".

Hope then produced a perfect result with minutes to spare.

In a statement, the Merchant Hotel said: "Stephen had averted a near disaster and remained calm under intense pressure. It was certainly this, coupled with his natural ability and passion for his art that impressed Gordon Ramsay and helped to secure Stephen his much deserved win."

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By Daniel Thomas

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