BUDDING chef Matthew Marriott beat stiff competition to win through to the national final of the Springboard FutureChef competition.
The Year 11 student tweaked his winning menu from the local heat and was delighted when judges at the North West Regional final declared his dessert was ‘delicious’.
In the catering kitchens of UCLan in Preston, he served up a pork ballotine, stuffed with herbs and wrapped in crispy pancetta served with a fondant potato and pan fried shredded sprouts cooked in butter, an apple puree and jus.
However, responding to the judge’s comments from the previous round, the 15-year-old made sure his puree was silky smooth and cooked the sprouts a little longer.
His dessert of lemon cheesecake, which he knew needed work, was enhanced by adding lemon balm and dots of lemon curd and raspberry coulis.
Matthew said: “This time there were 10 chefs in the competition and we had to cook for six judges. We had to serve two identical main meals and desserts and had just 90 minutes.”
Chef Judge Stuart Duff, from Hilton, said: “The quality of today’s dishes was exceptional and I’ve seen really some high standards – the competition seems to get better every year. All finalists produced some fantastic dishes.
“Congratulations to Matthew who achieved his potential today by serving up a well-balanced and nutritional meal.”
Matthew won a commemorative plate, embroidered chef jacket, an apron, a set of chef’s knives, high street vouchers and the coveted national final place.
He volunteers his spare time on a Wednesday afternoon to work at Michelin starred Northcote in Langho.
After winning the local heat at Blackburn College, he was assigned chef mentor Will Jacques of Craven College, Skipton, who helped him refine his menu for the regional final.
Matthew said: “I must have cooked the menu for my parents Dave and Bridget five times in the last week; we were all fed up of pork but my dad likes cheesecake.
“Four weeks before the final in London, I will get a list of ingredients that I can select from for my main and dessert.
“This time I will have to present the judges with three identical main and dessert dishes, but until I get the ingredients list I can’t begin planning.
“I will be working with my mentor Will to plan what to cook and I will have to submit my list of ingredients and a time plan two weeks ahead of the final.”
More than 8,000 aspiring young chefs were involved in the competition and Matthew will be one of a handful who will now compete in the national final in London on March 16 at the Westminster Kingsway College.
He added: “I just want to go and enjoy it and have a good time. We also get to stay in a hotel and go out for a meal in London.”