The region’s chefs of the future!
South West Junior Chef of the Year final 2023
Open to young cooks aged 11-16
Sponsored by Michael Caines Ltd.
The South West’s top junior cooks (aged from 13 to 15) gathered at Exeter College on Saturday 7th October for the final of South West Junior Chef of the Year.
Seven budding young chefs, who were all winners in their own county during the previous round of the competition in June, met to demonstrate their skills for our judges in the final
Well done to all seven finalists who really cooked up a storm! Our judges were blown away by the standard of cooking on display, commenting that many of the dishes would not look out of place on the table of any restaurant. They agreed that the future of the industry looks safe in the hands of such ambitious and enthusiastic young cooks, should they choose to pursue a career in the sector.
In the end, only one could be named the winner…. many congratulations to Freya, who qualified for the final for the second consecutive year, after jointly winning Cornwall Junior Chef of the Year in June. Her winning dish was Creedy Carver chicken breast boudin, smoked mash, carrot purée, Roscoff onion, tenderstem broccoli, red wine jus and chicken skin crisp
Details of all competitors and their dishes can be found below.
Each of our finalists was mentored by one of our judges over the summer who invited them into their kitchens to develop and enhance their dishes in preparation for the final, providing valuable experience of a working kitchen for these budding chefs.
Thank you very much to our judges for the county finals and special thanks to those who mentored the competitors (details below).
Many thanks, also, to the teachers and parents of the young finalists who have clearly inspired them to develop their interest and skills in the kitchen and have provided so much support for them throughout the competition.
The Junior Chef final followed the final of South West Home Cook of the Year which took place during the morning of 7th October. Three extremely competent cooks from across the region took to the stoves to prepare a two course meal (main course and dessert) for our judges. The winner of this award will be announced at our forthcoming awards presentation evening but you can read more about their menus below.
Many thanks to our judges for the finals (pictured here after announcing Freya as the Junior Chef winner (left to right): Seth Ward (representing lead sponsor Bidfood), Chris Cleghorn (The Olive Tree, Bath), Tim Kendall (The Barley Sheaf, Gorran and The Rising Sun, Altarnun), Freya, Neil Haydock (The Watergate Bay Hotel, Newquay), Richard Davies (Calcot & Spa, Tetbury) and Michael Caines MBE DL (Michael Caines Collection) and thank you very much to the staff and students at Exeter College for hosting the final and supporting competitors.
And thank you very much to Steve Haywood for his fantastic photography of the competition!
Thanks to our partnership with the Springboard FutureChef competition, our seven junior finalists have now been invited to take part in the FutureChef regional final in January to compete for a place in the national final and we wish them all the very best of luck!
South West Home Cook of the Year
The final of South West Home Cook of the Year, was also held on 7th October. Three finalists prepared a two-course menu (main and dessert) for our judges and the winner will be announced at our awards presentation on 24th October. See below for details of the finalists and their dishes.
The awards will be presented to the 2023 winners of all five categories of the competition following a special dinner prepared by previous winners and judges of the competition on Tuesday 24th October. In addition, one winner will be selected as the winner of Overall South West Chef of the Year.
If you would like to join us for our awards evening when you can enjoy a sumptuous meal prepared by previous winners and judges of the competition, further details and tickets are available through our website – click here for more information.
Congratulations to South West Junior Chef of the Year 2023:
Joint Cornwall Junior Chef of the Year
Penrice Academy, St Austell
Mentored by Tim Kendall, The Barley Sheaf Gorran and The Rising Sun, Altarnun
Creedy Carver chicken breast boudin, smoked mash, carrot purée, Roscoff onion, tenderstem broccoli, red wine jus, chicken skin crisp
Well done to all other finalists:
(in alphabetical order)
Wiltshire Junior Chef of the Year
South Wiltshire Grammar School, Salisbury
Mentored by Hywel Jones, Lucknam Park, Bath
Chicken Biryani served with mixed vegetable curry, naan bread and cucumber raita
Gloucestershire Junior Chef of the Year
Katharine Lady Berkeley’s School, Wotton-under-Edge
Mentored by Richard Davies, Calcot & Spa, Tetbury
Low-mileage Lebanese lamb
Sadly, Catherine was unable to complete her dish after cutting her finger but her mentor chef, Richard, told us just how tasty her dish was and we hope she will return to the competition next year!
Dorset Junior Chef of the Year
St Peter’s School, Bournemouth
Mentored by Sam Hughes, Rick Stein Sandbanks
Tandoori rice, pilau rice, raita
Devon Junior Chef of the Year
Torquay Girls’ Grammar School
Mentored by Mark Dodson, The Masons Arms, Knowstone
Pan fried Sea Bream, curry, cauliflower and caper
Somerset Junior Chef of the Year
Westfield Academy, Yeovil
Mentored by Chris Cleghorn, The Olive Tree, Bath
Salted Cornish Cod, with spiced capsicum sauce, coconut rice, Jamaican-style dumpling, mango and coriander salad
Joint Cornwall Junior Chef of the Year
Mentored by Pete Murt, Rick Stein’s Seafood Restaurant, Padstow
Pan seared duck breast with butternut squash purée, fondant potatoes, fine beans and red wine sauce
South West Home Cook of the Year
The final of South West Home Cook of the Year was also held on Saturday 7th October when three keen home cooks demonstrated their skills and passion for local produce for our judges. Finalists in this category were given a number of specified ingredients that had to be incorporated into their two-course menus:
Beef sirloin – kindly supplied by M C Kelly Ltd
Monkfish and/or mussels – kindly supplied by Flying Fish Seafoods
Apples, pears, Autumn fruits and berries – kindly supplied by Dole
You will see details of the finalists, their menus and pictures of the dishes they presented below (in alphabetical order). The winner of this award will be announced at our awards presentation evening on 24th October.
Monkfish steak in mussel sauce with Squid ink tagliatelle
Twister sticky cake with cinnamon poached pear, berries reduction and mousse
Monkfish with a Ragout of Mussels, orange glazed carrots and salt and vinegar roast new potatoes
Bottom crust pear and Devon blue cheese tarte
Pasta with wine and garlic mussels
Simply baked apples
Awards Evening – a celebration of the South West’s food, drink and hospitality!
Join us to celebrate the winners of South West Chef of the Year 2023 on Tuesday 24th October
Tickets are now available for our celebration evening when the awards will be presented following a wonderful meal prepared by three guest chefs, all judges and previous winners of South West Chef of the Year:
Sous Chef, The Methuen Arms, Corsham
South West Young Professional Chef of the Year 2019
Junior Sous Chef, The Royal Crescent Hotel, Bath
South West Young Professional and Overall Chef of the Year 2022
Michelin-starred Executive Head Chef, The Olive Tree, Bath
South West Chef of the Year judge
Our chefs will be assisted in the kitchen and front-of-house by students of the Michael Caines Academy.
This evening brings about a rare gathering of the region’s hospitality industry including our finalists, judges, sponsors and many more and is kindly sponsored and hosted by Exeter Golf and Country Club.
The evening will begin with a drinks reception followed by a three-course meal, with wines perfectly paired with our menu, and coffee and petits fours to finish. Tickets are available at £110 each. Make sure you book soon – click here for more information about the evening and to book your tickets.