Winners of the Great North Menu competition have been announced as young chefs from across the North East were invited to submit menus to compete for title or region’s best dish.
The competition was organised by the North East Hoteliers Association (NEHA), Darlington College and Kenny Atkinson from Rockliffe Hall hotel. The final 14 were then chosen by the region’s industry experts, with the winning starter, main and dessert to be served at the NEHA Excellence Awards dinner at Ramside Hall in February next year.
Chosen chefs had to take part in a special menu challenge and compete in a ‘cook-off’, where the 14 competitors were judged by some of the UK’s best and most well-known chefs, including celebrated North East chef and restaurateur Terry Laybourne, Andrew Pern from the Star at Harome in North Yorkshire and James Butterfield, estates and facilities director at Darlington College.
Rockliffe Hall’s director of food, Kenny Atkinson, teamed up with a Darlington College and the NEHA to launch the regional contest, showcasing the best chefs in the region, hoping to encourage more young people to consider the sector as a career.
Kenny said: “We’ve seen an outstanding level of cooking during this Great North Menu Challenge. It really was an amazing chance for young chefs to showcase their skills to the top people in the hospitality industry across the North East.
“What was really apparent was that in our region we have some of the most talented chefs creating inspiring dishes using great local produce. It was so hard to choose just three winners as everyone worked so hard and served beautiful food,” he added.
The winners for each of the course-lead categories were:
Starter: Daniel Parker, junior sous chef at Wynyard Hall, with his Whitby lobster and compressed, pickled watermelon served with feta, olives, rocket and basil.
Main: Steven Lawford, head chef in the Brasserie by Atkinson at Rockliffe Hall, with his chicken Wellington served with Jerusalem artichokes, smoked bacon and girolle mushrooms;
Dessert: Thomas Knott, head chef at Beamish Hall, with his chocolate and Earl Grey tea mousse.
Image: (L-R) Daniel Parker, junior sous chef at Wynyard Hall, Steven Lawford, head chef of the Brasserie by Atkinson at Rockliffe Hall and Thomas Knott head chef at Beamish Hall.