The four-star AA Rosette Lodore Falls Hotel welcomed the three winners of the Keswick School heat of the Rotary Young Chef competition, for lunch and a guided tour of the hotel and kitchen on Friday 30th January. Becky Askew, aged 14 from Keswick, winner of the competition was kindly offered the opportunity to work in the hotel kitchen alongside Shane Hamilton, Sous Chef, to produce a 3 course menu of her choice for the 2 runners up and their GCSE catering teacher, Mrs Mather.
Stephen Johnson, General Manager at the Lodore Falls Hotel said, “we were more than happy to welcome the three winners to the Lodore Falls Hotel, we feel that the opportunity for Becky to work in an AA Rosette kitchen will certainly give her a great insight into the catering industry”.
Becky prepared her meal under the guidance of Sous Chef Shane Hamilton, who provided assistance and gave advice to help her with presentation and seasoning. Runners up Ellie Winter (who was awarded 2nd prize) and Rebecca Crellen (3rd prize), sat down with Becky & Mrs Mather to enjoy the prepared meal, of a tomato & red pepper tartlet, with homemade pastry, served with a side slaw for starter; sticky Chinese chicken traybake, served with egg fried rice including a variety of vegetables for main; followed by orange and dark chocolate mousse with orange infused shortbread for dessert.
Mrs Mather commented, “this has been such a fantastic opportunity for Becky and she’s got so much out of it. It’s great experience for the next heat of the competition, which is taking place in Kendal on Thursday 5th February.”
An interview was carried out with Becky Askew, to give an insight into how Becky feels the competition and placement at the Lodore Falls has benefitted her…
Would you like to become a professional chef?
It is definitely one of my main options for my career choice, after my A levels I would like to go to a catering college and then hopefully university. My ideal job would be a pastry chef.
What makes you passionate about being a chef?
I find it amazing how you can take a few ingredients and turn them into so many different dishes. I get a great sense of achievement when I see other people’s reactions to my food, seeing them enjoying what I’ve made is very rewarding.
What inspired you to enter a cookery competition?
The competition is part of the Keswick School curriculum on the catering class, each pupil had to produce a main course, from this the top 8 pupils were selected, based on their skill, texture and flavour and how well they dealt with the competition. These 8 pupils were then put forward for the Rotary Young Chef competition, where we had to produce a two course lunch, using local seasonal ingredients.
What does it mean to you to win the Keswick School heat of the Rotary Young Chef competition?
It was an amazing feeling, I was really pleased as I didn’t expect to win, the competition was very strong.
Do you think the competition has helped you further your skills?
Yes, the competition has helped me look at different recipes and different cooking styles.
What does it mean to you to work alongside the Lodore Falls Sous Chef in an AA Rosette kitchen?
It’s been a great experience for me, it’s so different working in a commercial kitchen, there is a lot more pressure to get everything right. It’s very daunting but it has really helped, Shane gave me some good advice on my presentation and seasoning.
What dishes have you prepared today? Why did you decide on these?
Today I made a tomato & red pepper tartlet, with homemade pastry, served with a side slaw for starter; sticky Chinese chicken traybake, served with egg fried rice including a variety of vegetables for main; followed by orange and dark chocolate mousse with orange infused shortbread for dessert.
I practised these dishes around 3 to 4 times at home and based my choices around what my family like to eat. My Mum is a vegetarian so I decided on the tartlet so that she could enjoy my practise dishes too, for the main I decided on chicken, as it doesn’t take a lot of cooking time and there are so many different ways to use it, then for the dessert, my younger brother insisted on the chocolate mousse.
Would you like the opportunity to work in the Lodore Falls kitchen again?
Yes I would love to come back, I would have considered this for my work experience if I’d have know it was an option.
What’s the best bit of advice that you have been given from a chef?
Shane gave me great advice on seasoning, flavour and to experiment with extra spices. As well as tips on presentation which will help to boost my skill level.