Farah Smith has been named Young Peruvian Chef of the Year after a closely contested cook-off at Westminster Kingsway in London earlier this week.
Smith, who works at Soho's Chotto Matte and is a former student of the college, beat six other finalists to the title, in what was the inaugural year of the competition.
She wowed judges with three beautifully presented dishes produced during a three-hour cook-off which asked competitors to use Peruvian ingredients including quinoa, cacao and avocado.
Her winning dishes were: scallop and langoustine tiradito, Nikkei leche, aji Amarillo, coriander and cancha; ‘lamb and potatoes' cacao, caramelised sweet potato and charred purple potato cream; and chocolate praline, quinoa hazelnut ice cream, kiwicha crunch.
In second place was Ryan Sharpe, who produced dishes of: sea bass, avocado and red onion ceviche with a sweet potato tuile and avocado foam; duck and root vegetable escabeche with a mosaic of quinoa, asparagus and pomegranate; and textures of Peruvian chocolate with jelly, sorbet and sponge.
In joint third place were Jose Carlo Queirolo from Carshalton College, and Ali Mustafaj from City of Bristol College.
Commenting on her win, Smith said: "To have made it to the finals of the competition was an honour in its self. So as you could imagine the elation I felt when I was announced the winner is incomparable. I am in a state of sheer relief as an extensive amount of work was put into the dishes. I am extremely grateful for the support I received, especially that of Michael Paul, head chef at Chotto Matte.
"The extraordinary opportunity of going to Central, Lima is one I look forward to and will not be taken for granted. This whole experience has had a profound impact on me and stretched my capabilities to new heights and will help me in my journey of becoming a success in my industry. I'm thankful for the
opportunity and look forward to what the future has in store."
Chotto Matte founding partner Kurt Zdesar added: "The Chotto Matte team and myself are elated to hear that Farah Smith has won the Young Peruvian Chef of the Year Award. We are all extremely proud to have such a talented and enthusiastic young chef in our team who has developed so far with her passion for the cuisine. I have seen Farah work very closely with our executive chef Jordan Sclare and head chef Michael Paul to take her talent to the next level. I am sure in the not so distant future, Farah will be challenging Jordan and Michael to become one of those superstar chefs we will be reading all about.
"On a personal note, I would like to congratulate Farah and am very proud to have her as part of the Chotto Matte team and I wish her continued success."
Judging the competition were:
• Lindsey Bareham, food writer, the Times
• Martin Morales, owner of London restaurants Ceviche, Andina and Casita Andina
• Robert Ortiz, head chef of Michelin-starred Lima in London
• Christian Nelson, founder of Sumaq Super Foods
• Jose Souto, chef lecturer at Westminster Kingsway College
• Neil Gerrard, associate editor, The Caterer
The competition was set up by the Peru Trade & Investment Office, and as the winner Smith will now enjoy a stage at Virgilio Martinez's world-renowned Peruvian restaurant Central in Lima.
Runners up will join Martin Morales for a stage at Ceviche restaurants.
Martin Morales to open Ceviche Old St >>
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