Restaurant kitchens are bubbling over with such strong new talent, the crown for Sheffield’s Young Chef of the Year has had to be split three ways.
Judges looking for professional under 21 with skill, passion, flair and commitment couldn’t choose between finalists Jack Windsor of the Cross Scythes, Tom Lawson of the Devonshire Arms, Middle Handley, and the Beauchief’s Adam Harper.
“We were so impressed we thought they should share the title,” said judge Lesley Draper of the Sheffield Telegraph.
Scores of budding chefs were nominated by their managers, testament to the fact that skilled and ambitious young people consider a kitchen career an illustrious one.
Sous chef Adam Harper, 20, has already tasted the world of the celebrity chef, having worked for a month in the kitchens of Heston Blumenthal’s now Michelin-starred Hind’s Head Hotel in Bray. Adam, who cut his teeth at Hathersage’s the Plough and Bradwell’s Samuel Fox, decided it wasn’t for him and came back to Sheffield to follow his passion.
He said: “I’d tell anyone struggling at school and cooking at home like I did to see it as a career.”
It was a different story for Tom Lawson, 21, of Stannington; he left High Storrs at 15 with 12 GCSEs, four at Grade A, to take a kitchen apprenticeship. He said: “I’d always known it was what I wanted to do. At 13 I enrolled on a Saturday college course and in Year 10 I did my NVQ Level 1.”
Jack Windsor, 18, got his Cross Scythes apprenticeship a week after gaining a clutch of GCSEs at All Saints. Said Jack: “I’ve no regrets about not doing A Levels. There’s no university course for chefs and the best way to learn is on the job.”