A young chef from Rogan & Company is celebrating after winning the title of Cumbria Young Chef of the Year 2013, sponsored by Essential Cuisine. Daniel Akrigg received the title after taking part in a two and a half hour cook off on 3rd April 2013 at Kendal College, as part of the North West Young Chef of the Year Competition.
For his starter, Daniel prepared Brother David Cheese baked in Cartmel Crusader Ale Crust with Pickled Onions. His ethos of using local produce is rooted in the restaurants' philosophy, which is why he worked closely with his suppliers to source the best ingredients for the competition, including Unsworth Yard Brewery and Martin Gott at Holker Estate.
Daniel went on to impress the judges with his main course of Fillet of Plaice, Purple Sprouting Broccoli, and Morecambe Bay Shrimps. He finished his menu with a dish of Field Rhubarb with Meadowsweet Cream with Gingerbread Crumble.
On winning the Cumbria Heat, Daniel said he was relieved and ecstatic, especially as this was his first competition. "When you're cooking, you can't see anyone else's dishes which is really nerve-wracking."
When asked how he went about planning his menu, Daniel said "I researched what ingredients were local and seasonal at the time of the Heat, and I talked my recipes through with the team at the restaurant, especially my Head Chef Danni Barry, who is a real inspiration, as well as Simon Rogan who I really admire."
"I entered the competition to gain experience and confidence, and really put myself out there. I'm very self critical and doubt myself a lot so to win is absolutely fantastic."
During the heat, Daniel faced strong competition from James Maggiore (Holbeck Ghyll,) Aaron McNamara (Lindeth Howe Hotel,) Harry Dutton (Queens Head Hotel,) and Drew Metcalfe (Punchbowl at Crosthwaite.)
The judges on the day were Chairman of Judges Brian Mellor, Managing Director of Essential Cuisine Nigel Crane, and Steve Williams, Executive Head Chef from Stanley House Hotel and Spa, and the mentor for the 2012 Winner of North West Young Chef, Lewis Gallagher.
Daniel will now go on to represent Cumbria at the North West Young Chef of the Year Competition Final on 13th June at Manchester College in Didsbury.
For more information on the competition, click here.