Tom wins contest and now faces his ex-tutor!

Competition winner: Tom Lawson.
Competition winner: Tom Lawson.
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No professional chef should ever rest on his laurels.

New food crazes and increasingly sci-fi-style cookery techniques mean there’s always something new to learn - as nine kitchen pros discovered in a masterclass with Derbyshire’s only Michelin-starred chef.

Rupert Rowley took time out of the kitchens at Fischer’s at Baslow Hall to be teacher for the day at Sheffield City College.

Nine of the region’s most promising chefs went back to the classroom to learn skills from Rupert, plus advice from Visionary Dining event organiser Gordon Cartwright, a former AA inspector.

Heston Blumenthal-style, cutting-edge equipment was demonstrated - water baths, hot-smokers, blenders that heat as they mix and instant ice cream and sorbet-makers, all of which are now in use in the new college’s state of the art catering wing,

As students looked on, the nine fought to replicate Rupert’s skill and passion in a Skills For Chefs cook-off.

Winner Tom Lawson, a former Sheffield City College student who is now a chef at Rowley’s Restaurant in Baslow, produced a perfect starter of cod smoked in lapsang souchong tea in a beetroot and horseradish bubble with micro-herb salad, plus a rack and osso buco of Derbyshire venison with sloe gin and rosehip.

Tom now goes to the grand final of Skills For Chefs in June. Dinner for two anywhere in the world is at stake, although it could get a bit personal...

One of the competitors is Tom’s ex tutor, college catering lecturer Mick Burke, a Masterchef of Great Britain.