A young Lancashire chef who dreams of being his own boss by the age of 30 has earned the prestigious title of Lancashire Young Chef of the Year, putting him firmly in the race to become the most promising culinary property in the North West.
Martin Hargreaves, senior chef de partie at Cassis at Stanley House Hotel, Mellor, won the Lancashire & Blackpool Tourist Board contest after impressing judges at a cook off this week, and has automatically won a place in next year’s heated final of the North West Young Chef of the Year 2010.
At Lancaster and Morecambe College, each chef in the competition was challenged to cook up a winning three course meal for two using local North West produce costing up to £25. Martin devised a menu of cauliflower risotto with Morecambe Bay langoustines starter, Huntley’s roe buck venison for main course, and a fantastic Cheshire apple trifle for dessert.
Another fantastic step on the career ladder, martin has already been hailed modern apprentice student of the year three years running at Blackburn College, nominated by his tutors and employers for his commitment, contribution to college life and course performance.
His ambition, after gaining as much experience as possible, is to have his own fine restaurant and bakery business by the time he’s 30, with the support of a talented team. “I live for cooking and work is my full time passion,” he said. “The satisfaction derived from sourcing the finest regional produce, then preparing and presenting it to perfection on the plate and hearing the praise of delighted diners, cannot be beaten.”
Executive head chef at Cassis Steve Williams said it took a lot of nerve to enter a competition where all your skills are on public display. “Martin’s menu shows skill and modern techniques and I am very proud of what he has achieved. He has made good use of the great spectrum of food available in the North West.”
At the nerve racking cook off, Martin had to impress a scrupulous judging panel, made up of judges British Masterchef Brian Mellor (Chef ‘n’ Farmer, Wirral) and Maurizio Botcchi (La Locanda, Gisburn).
“I always expect a strong showing from Lancashire, but I was also impressed by the eagerness of the young chefs to receive feedback,” said Brian. “Martin will be a very strong contender representing Lancashire in the North West Young Chef final next June.”
“I am impressed by the amount of talent these young chefs have demonstrated,” added Maurizio. “They have shown great passion and a real willingness to learn from the competition.”
If Martin goes on to win North West Young Chef of the Year at the final in front of regional producers, food writers, media and top chefs, he will receive a week long bursary in a top European restaurant with mentoring from an accomplished chef. He will also win a weekend for two at a luxury hotel and a set of Global chefs’ knives.