A chef's diary with Ruth Hansom, July 2017

The Staff Canteen

Young National Chef of the Year 2017 winner, Ruth Hansom, has been giving The Staff Canteen a monthly insight into her life as a chef at Michelin-starred the Ritz as well as many other exciting opportunities she is set to experience in the coming year.

This month Ruth tries insect canapes, attends the Young National Chef of the Year and National Chef of the Year semi-finals at Le Cordon Bleu, and cooks up a storm at London Food Month.

Ruth Hansom and Pascal Aussignac at Taste of London

Ruth Hansom and Pascal Aussignac

at Taste of London

Wow! What a crazy few months, I think for the industry as a whole! What with London Food Month, Taste of London and a lot of competitions going on; it’s been a great start to summer and oh, the not so typical British weather hasn’t been too bad either. Aside from topping up your tan, it’s also meant the tomatoes and strawberries have been super good too!

Insect canapés at Taste of London

I was given an amazing opportunity to get involved with Taste of London and do some demos on the DS Automobile stand along with Pascal Aussignac – what a character, so enthusiastic and inspirational. The concept was Avant Garde; to do something bespoke and original, with that in mind Pascal developed some canapés using insects, something that’s never been done at a food festival before so fits the brief? Check. The dishes included Sweetbread coated with duck fat popcorn and locust and lemon posset with wood ants from Kent! The ants were amazing, like a huge burst of citrus. In fact, so much so that we had to reduce the amount of lemon in the posset to balance the dish. We spent a day with Pascal at Club Gascon learning the dishes and sharpening our insect knowledge. Did you know there are 3000 ethnic groups around the world that rely on insects as a main protein supply?! 

National and Young National Chef of the Year 2018 semi- finals

The Following week was full on! It was the National and Young National Chef of the Year 2018 semi- finals at Le Cordon Bleu and I was commis for my sous chef. It was a great day, and after competing the past four years it was nice to be able to spend some time looking at everyone’s food! It’s such a great competition with an amazing judging panel and calibre of competitors. Another competition I was involved in this month was Royal Academy of Culinary Arts MCA. It’s a seven hour test with some great classic tasks and I’m proud to say Chris Hill, premier sous chef at The Ritz Hotel, whom I was helping, got through to the final! I love competitions. The brainstorming, the practising, the tasting, and let’s not forget the list writing – I love a good list, hand written – imperative! And then the big day comes, the butterflies, the pressure and the feedback afterwards. No matter how you perform you either win or you learn, what’s to lose? Ok, I know those of you who know me know that I am very competitive but reflection is a marvellous thing! 

Veal Sweetbread, Black Pudding and walnut crumb, Carrot Puree, Roasted Endive, Honey glazed Nectarine, Pickled Kohlrabi, Fresh Almond

Veal sweetbread, black pudding 

and walnut crumb,

carrot puree, roasted endive,

honey glazed nectarine,

pickled Kohlrabi, fresh almond

As part of London Food Month the Royal Garden Hotel held four pop-ups with previous Craft Guild Graduates composing and cooking the menu. My dinner was on the June, 22 and it was such fun! The hotel’s kitchen is impressive and a joy to work in. The Restaurant had a great ambience and it was interesting to go out and see the diners and get their opinion on my dishes. It’s so satisfying talking to your guests. After all, it is the knowledge that you’re giving someone pleasure and enjoyment that makes all the long hours and hard work so worthwhile.

There are so many things that I could talk about this month but I’m going to leave you on the note of awards, the Craft Guild of Chefs Awards are a big one for me! It's such a good event and I think it’s really important to give people recognition and celebrate amongst our peers. Our industry is amazing but it’s amazing because of the people in it. When the people get together it’s hard not to feel the enthusiasm bursting from the room. 

Right Guys, make the most of this weather and those strawberries – catch you next month!

Ruth Hansom
Ruth Hansom

Ruth Hansom is a chef at The Ritz Hotel in London. Ruth is no stranger to competitions having competed in the Young National Chef of the Year contest twice, before winning the 2017 title. Ruth has been at the Ritz for three years where she started out as an apprentice before working her way to become a chef.

Former Springboard FutureChef winner always knew she wanted to be a chef. She was just 15 years old when she came to London and competed in the FutureChef final at Westminster Kingsway College where she later studied.
She became a Craft Guild of Chefs’ Graduate in 2014 and is regarded as ‘one to watch’ in the industry.

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Editor 19th July 2017

A chef's diary with Ruth Hansom, July 2017