A TALENTED Redditch man has beaten the odds and been named the British Culinary Federation’s Young Chef of the Year.
Luke Turner, from Matchborough, first became interested in cooking when he spent time baking with his Great Nan as a youngster – and he’s now had his culinary skills tried, tested and praised in a prestigious competition.
Former Arrow Vale student Luke, now 23, works at Simpson’s Restaurant in Edgbaston, Birmingham and on November 6 took part in the finals of the cook-off held at University College Birmingham.
“When I was at school, I wasn’t the most well-behaved student,” said Luke.
“I used to spend a lot of time with my Great Nan and we would do a lot of baking together. This was really the first time I got interested in food. After that, I started studying food at school, and then college, and then was offered a job at Simpsons.
“This was my last eligible year for the competition, so I thought I’d go for it.”
Competitors had two hours to produce a three-course meal for two, and Luke impressed the judges with his menu of Isle of Mull scallop with cauliflower, spelt and pickled seaweed, Wythall’s Caldecott Farm chicken with black garlic and smoked carrots, and Kenilworth apples with blackberry sorbet and marigold.
He added: “It was an amazing feeling to hear that my dishes were consistently the best in the competition.
“In my job, you don’t often get to see people’s reaction to your work very often, so it was good to hear. It was quite a weird experience, and I’m really grateful for all the support Simpsons have given me.”
As well as the David Bache Trophy, Luke was presented with a cheque for £250, a personalised chef’s jacket, an invitation to Aubrey Allen’s new Butchery Academy, plus automatic seeding into the National Young Chef of the Year 2018.
Competition organiser and BCF president Peter Griffiths said: “This year’s final was without a doubt the highest standard we have seen.
“The quality of these young people’s cooking was exceptional, they are a credit to themselves and the industry.”