All change with new chefs at helm in Sheffield

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A young chef who started as a teenage apprentice has worked his way up to the top position at a Sheffield restaurant.

Darren Utley, from Lowedges, has taken over from the well-known Simon Ayres in the lead role at the Cross Scythes in Totley.

The 22-year-old’s signature dish, Gressingham duck breast with beer fondant potato, parsnip pea sauce, confit leg and horseradish fritter and mushroom, impressed bosses so much he was asked to curate the restaurant’s summer menu, before his promotion last week.

Darren, who has been at the pub for four years, said: “I am only 22 so it is great opportunity - it is going to help me push on a lot harder. I’ve always wanted to be a chef so getting the top job is amazing.

“I used to go around to my nan’s and bake with her, and watch my dad cook. I always loved cooking and thought why not do it as a career?”

A new winter menu, launched last week, has been overseen by Darren and he wants to bring in new apprentices next year.

“I want to help other people, the way I have been here”, he said.

n There are also changes afoot at the Summer House restaurant in Dore.

Well-known Sheffield chef Christian Kent - formerly of Christian’s, Beauchief, and the legendery Blue Room Brasserie - has taken over as executive head chef after a spell at Peak District hotels.

He will oversee all food and drink at the restaurant, and keep the focus of classic British cuisine with a twist.

Christian, who has also worked at Claridges and the Savoy in London, said: “I am looking forward to getting started at The Summer House, using the finest quality Derbyshire beef steaks, and bringing back old favourites like the bento box, prawns pil pil and warm chocolate brownie.”

John Tompkins, owner of the Summer House, added: “Christian will bring a style of cooking and passion that the people of Sheffield love. Add to this his desire to work back in his home town and we are all on to a winner.”

Home chefs may by now be feeling anxious about the mammoth cooking challenge that presents itself on Christmas Day.

n Marco Pierre White, who has a restaurant in Sheffield at West Bar, has shared his tips for the perfect roast, which include cooking roast potatoes in clarified butter, then sprinkling on a chicken stock cube, as well as cooking the stuffing separately from the turkey.