Chesterfield’s Young Chef of the Year for 2019

College students battle it out to be named Chesterfield’s Young Chef of the Year for 2019

Three Chesterfield College students are in the running for the prestigious 2019 Young Chef of the Year Award, following a Master Chef style competition judged by food industry professsionals.

Part of the annual Chesterfield Food and Drink Awards, the award, which is sponsored by Owen Taylor & Sons, recognises Chesterfield College’s most promising Level 2 Cookery student.

In a specially organised cook-off, Jake Parkin (18) from Swanwick, Sophia Johnson (18) from Dronfield and Callum Fitzpatrick (18) from Bramley Vale, each prepared a two course meal for judges Chris Mapp owner of the Tickled Trout, Andrew Wilson, Head Chef at Casa Hotel and Richard Taylor, Managing Director of Owen Taylor & Sons.

Jake’s seasonal menu included duck breast with celeriac puree, fondant potato and a five spice jus followed by fresh strawberry cheesecake, sorbet, strawberry salad and Swiss meringue.

Commenting on the competition, Jake said: “I started cooking at around five years old with my grandma – making cakes and doing some other baking. I quickly learned I had a passion for it and I know it’s something I definitely want to pursue. Who knows, maybe one day I could be the next Gordon Ramsey!”

Sophia chose to cook lamb rack and croquette, pickled courgetti, mint salsa verde and confit potatoes followed by hedgerow chocolate brownie, crumble, Italian meringue and yoghurt sauce.

Sophia commented on the cook-off: “I felt really pleased with how it went, I’d done plenty of practice runs so felt really prepared and calm. The timings went really well so I had time to think about the presentation. Being a finalist is an exciting achievement and my aim was just that the food I served on the day was a success – and it was!”

Callum prepared roast duck with celeriac, peach, duck spring roll and a red wine jus followed by vanilla poached Asian pear with caramel and cinnamon biscuit for the judges.

He added: “I was surprised to be a finalist but it is really exciting and just goes to show that hard work pays off. I did a lot of online research in preparation for my menu and decided to cook duck and pear as these were things I’d never used before. I absolutely loved plating up the dishes as it is so good seeing the creation come together.”

Commenting on Jake, Sophia and Callum’s performance, Andrew Wilson, Head Chef at Casa Hotel enthused: “All three young chefs were competent in presentation and dealt well with the pressure of cooking two dishes from scratch whilst being observed and questioned about the dishes they were preparing. They had all obviously researched, planned and practised to be able to achieve the high standard of cooking that they presented to the judges.”

Richard Taylor, Managing Director of Owen Taylor & Sons,added: “It was a very good effort from all three students today. The food was delivered with acceptable presentation, but one shone and I look forward to seeing that person on the awards night.”

Fellow judge Chris Mapp said: “The students worked really hard and produced some well-presented, nice food. You could tell that a lot of thought went into the dishes with how they’d pieced them together, which is great for people of such a young age.”

Ian Matthews, Hospitality and Catering Tutor at Chesterfield College, commented: “I am actually incredibly proud of all of the students, to be doing what they have just done, under pressure at Level 2 is extremely impressive. The balance and composition of the dishes were just fantastic. It’s been an amazing experience for them and all of these experiences of a real working environment, including our Taste Restaurant, will help them to stand out to future employers.”

Following the cook-off, the winner of the 2019 Young Chef of the Year Award will be announced by celebrity chef, Brian Turner at the glittering Chesterfield Food and Drink Awards which is organised by Destination Chesterfield in association with Chesterfield College and will be held at the Winding Wheel on Wednesday 23 October.

A former winner of the prestigious Chesterfield Young Chef of the Year title includes James Greatorex, who went on to work in Michelin-starred restaurants, The Fat Duck and L’Ortolan.

In addition to Owen Taylor & Sons, other supporters of the awards include Apprentice Town (Led by Chesterfield Borough Council), Banner Jones Solicitors, BHP Chartered Accountants, Casa Hotel, Chesterfield Borough Council, Derbyshire Times, Distinctive Magic, East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire), Edge Events Management Ltd, Elder Way (Jomast Developments), FEAST – Food and Drink Forum, Hoods Florist, Jumble Creative Design, Kier Group, Learning Unlimited (The Chesterfield College Group), Magnifica, MSE Hiller, Peak FM, Reflections Magazine (Bannister Publications Ltd), Shorts Chartered Accountants and Vicar Lane Shopping Centre.

For more information about the awards, visit



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