January 2020: Super chef Matthew through to regional cookery comp final

FOR the second year running budding chef Matthew Marriott has won the local finals of the FutureChef competition.

Now he will compete in the regional final to be held at UCLan in Preston, on January 31, when he will face other local winners.

Although last year his dreams of a national final place did not come true, Matthew, 15, was offered a dream work experience opportunity at the Michelin starred restaurant at Northcote in Langho.

He said: “In the local competition I had £7 and had to create a menu of two mains and two desserts, to be ready in 90 minutes.

“My menu was a pork ballotine, stuffed with herbs and wrapped in crispy pancetta served with a fondant potato and shredded sprouts cooked in butter, an apple puree and jus. Dessert was a lemon cheesecake.

“I prepared the lemon cheesecake first because it was the easiest to do and then started on my main. There were a few hiccups, especially when I had to do the potato again because I cut it slanted.”

He will now get to work with his appointed chef mentor William Jacques of Craven College, Skipton, who will help him to refine his menu for the next round when the spend also increases to £10.

Matthew said: “The judges loved the main course, but the cheesecake was a bit too easy so I am thinking of adding lemon curd and raspberries.”

While at Northcote, he faced a huge seafood challenge to prepare 50 live lobster.

Matthew said: “The lobster was a different experience; it is not every day you get to do that and not in a lesson in school.

“I especially liked working with the chefs, especially as it is a Michelin starred restaurant. I did a lot of preparation and I was also on the pass, but it is a calm kitchen.”

He continues to volunteer every Wednesday afternoon for three hours.

Matthew added: “Last week I was making raisins. I took 2.7kg of whole grapes and I had a cocktail stick; I had to prick each one several times and then mix them with lemon zest and juice, castor sugar and a tiny bit of salt and then put them in an oven at 100C for two-and-a-half hours.

“The raisins were then the finishing touch on top of the venison.”

He hopes get an apprenticeship or go to college and once he has gained experience combine cheffing with his other passion of skiing, ultimately to  land a job working in the restaurants for a ski season.