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Determined Young Chef Takes The Crown…. Again!

Determined Young Chef Takes The Crown…. Again!

15th April 2016

Steven Halligan from Mr Cooper’s House and Garden @ Midland Hotel has become the Greater Manchester Young Chef of the Year 2016 after an intense competition held at Manchester College on Thursday 14th April. The 22 year old chef cooked up a storm as he carefully followed the competitions brief and paid high attention to seasonal and local produce throughout his menu. ‘I really wanted to put focus on the different seasonal ingredients for this time of year. For example my starter focused around vegetables and natural flavours, this was because I think far too often meat and fish are the starting point of a dish and vegetables become an afterthought. I wanted the vegetables to become show cased due to the abundance of incredible varieties Britain has to offer at this time of year.’ Steven won the Greater Manchester heat back in 2014 but unfortunately did not win the final, therefore with him now being 22 years old he realised this was his last year to compete in the competition and came back more determined than ever. With Chairman of Judges, Brian Mellor, stating ‘I like it when people go away from the competition then come back and you see how much their skills and techniques have come on, and this is definitely seen through Steven’s dishes.’ Even a major operation was not going to cease the previous title-holder competing as only 2 weeks previous his appendix had been removed. ‘I went back into work 2 days earlier than I was meant to so I could practice as much as possible!’ The standard was high across the board with other contenders being; Alexander Conway from The Lowry Hotel, Lucy Podmore from Pecks Restaurant, Chris Ormshaw from James Martin Manchester and Lucy Burke from Automatic. However, Steven’s winning menu allowed him to take the crown which consisted of ‘Salad of Baby Heritage Vegetables’ to start, ‘Last Years’ Spring Lamb’ for main and completed with a dessert of ‘Rhubarb, tarragon and sesame.' NWYC 2 The competition, sponsored by CHR and Essential Cuisine, was judged on the day by Chairman of Judges - Brian Mellor, Business Development Chef - Robin Dudley and Head Chef for Ribble Valley Inns - Jason Birkbeck. T114he Greater Manchester Young Chef of the Year said ‘I am so happy to have won again, I didn’t feel as prepared as I would of liked so I wasn’t sure how I would do. I feel like I’ve learnt so much since winning the heat back in 2014 but the whole experience really helped me in getting used to the pressure and knowing what the judges expect. I’m turning 23 next year so this really is my last chance to try and win the final and hopefully go through to nationals, so fingers crossed. Today was a lot more daunting then back in 2014, as I was only competing against one other person, where as today there has been 4 others but I just concentrated on my own dishes and its paid off. I have lots of inspirations in the industry but two that stick in my mind are Phil Howard as I admire what he does and Marcus Noack, the Business Development Chef for Simon Rogan as he helped with the development of my menu and the concepts behind my dishes.’ Steven will now go on to attend a master class with an acclaimed chef to hone skills with the industry’s best, before going on to compete against the other regional winners in the final of North West Young Chef Competition, which will be held at Manchester College on 10th May 2016. For more information or photography from the North West Young Chef Competition, please contact Erin from Essential Cuisine on 01606 541490 or email erin.walker@essentialcuisine.com   106

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