Horsham teenager wins Rotary Young Chef contest

Rotary Young Chef winner 2014 Tom Hamblet and Celebrity Chef and Judge Valentine Warner - picture submitted

Rotary Young Chef winner 2014 Tom Hamblet and Celebrity Chef and Judge Valentine Warner - picture submitted

  • by Horsham Rotary Club

Horsham Rotary Club and South Lodge Hotel have won the Rotary Young Chef competition for the second year running.

As the sun shone through the mist lying over Dundee last Saturday afternoon, Tom Hamblet, 15, was announced the National Winner of this year’s contest.

Eight young people aged from 14 to 17 years old had spent the previous two hours battling it out in the kitchens of the Dundee and Angus College.

Tom Hamblet is a student at Tanbridge House School and was one of 6,500 young people who participated in Club, District and Regional heats before reaching the finals. His winning menu consisted of:-

- Starter: Seared scallops, mango, Jerusalem artichoke, brown butter and capers.

- Main Course: Roasted breast of Gressingham duck, bacon quinoa, char-grilled Wye Valley asparagus, morels and broad beans.

- Dessert: Ginger and honey cake, rhubarb, yoghurt, pistachio and almond.

Tom was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Horsham. This is the second year running that a student sponsored by the Rotary Club of Horsham has won this prestigious competition.

Last year’s winner was Jordon Powell from Forest School who was invited by the national organisers to be one of the judges on this occasion.

This national competition is sponsored by Filippo Berio, the UK’s leading brand of olive oils. The incentive to win is heightened by Filippo Berio arranging to take the winner and a parent to Italy, to view their olive groves and receive tuition in Italian cooking in their training kitchens.

The judging panel also consisted of Valentine Warner, the celebrated TV chef and food writer, Christopher Basten, the National Chairman of the Craft Guild of Chefs, and Walter Zanre, the managing director of Filippo Berio.

Jules White, Head Teacher at Tanbridge House School commented: “The school is extremely proud of Tom and this fantastic achievement. It is incredible for him to have won a competition which started with over 6,000 entrants nationwide and he should be very proud of himself.

“I know Tom’s Food Technology Teacher, Miss Masterman and his Leader of Year, Mrs Price, are equally delighted.

“We all look forward to seeing what lies ahead for him!”

Tom is hopefully following in the footsteps of his father, Lewis Hamblet, who is the executive chef at South Lodge Hotel in Lower Beeding and those of this year’s MasterChef: The Professionals 2013 champion, Steven Edwards, head chef of the Camellia restaurant.

Last year Lewis helped Jordon perfect his cooking skills with the support of Steven and Matt Gillan, head chef of the Michelin Starred The Pass.

He said: “I’m so happy as Tom has worked incredibly hard to achieve this great accolade. I’m also hugely proud as South Lodge is becoming something of a breeding ground for future talent following Tom’s win and Jordon’s last year, coupled with one of our Chef de Partie’s of The Pass, Ricky Weston, recently being crowned Chaîne des Rôtisseurs National Young Chef of the Year 2014.”

Donna Wallbank, chairman of the Rotary UK Youth Service Committee commented: “We are very proud of our commitment to providing opportunities for young people to develop their skills and talents through our Rotary Clubs and the many youth competitions we run.”

For the first time in this competition, the Craft Guild of Chefs marked the achievement of the finalists in the Rotary Young Chef Competition by giving them a Certificate allowing them one year’s student membership of the Craft Guild of Chefs and presented winner Tom with a gold medal and the other seven contestants a silver medal.




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