Two catering students from Kendal College have reeled in the top prize in the 2017 Young Seafood Chef of the Year competition.
Niall Frith, 18 and Will Bolsover, 17, both Level 3 Professional Cookery students at the College, triumphed over another eight finalists at the annual event in Grimsby on Tuesday 13th June.
Founded in 1996, The UK Seafood Championships provide young chefs with a platform to demonstrate their flair, understanding, skill, and ability using seafood from sustainable sources. This is the third time that a pairing from Kendal College has come out on top after previously winning the competition in 2008 and 2013.
Finalists consisted of pairings from nine UK Colleges who had to create a 3-course menu for judges from scratch using sustainable species specifically selected for them. The judging panel was made up of key industry specialists as well as popular TV chef, Nathan Outlaw, who holds four Michelin stars across a growing empire of seafood restaurants. Nathan also held a masterclass for all of the finalists on the day before the competition.
Niall and Will’s winning menu was brined sous vide salmon, smoked shallot puree, salse verde, puffed wild rice, oyster leaf to start. This was followed by an intermediate course of curried cod loin, cauliflower textures, confit egg yolk, curry foam, onion bhaji, samphire, and then a main dish of pan fried hake, wild garlic creamed potato, English asparagus, beurre noisette crumb.
Chef Lecturer at Kendal College, Yannick Lequitte, travelled down with Niall and Will to the finals at the Grimsby Institute. He said: “It’s always interesting for me to see how our students rise to the challenge when they are in situations like this and especially when they are able to compete with, and outperform some of the much bigger colleges from around the UK. It makes us all really very proud.
“Competitions like this one provide an excellent platform for college students to showcase their immense talent, and to then be supported by leading industry professionals like Nathan Outlaw, is a once in a lifetime opportunity for many of them.”
Niall added: “The competition gave us a lot of experience and meeting Nathan Outlaw was a real eye-opener. He was such a nice guy and his masterclass gave us some great ideas for the invention test the following day. We wanted our main course to stand out from the rest of the finalists so we chose a fish that is quite difficult to cook, and we’re really happy that our risk paid off in the end!”
Niall and Will won £500 each and a Thermomix TM5 food processor. They also took home a cookbook, trophy, medal and certificate as well as a £1000 voucher for Kendal College to spend on Russums catering equipment.