A chef's diary with Ruth Hansom, October 2017

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 28th September 2017

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.

For her last blog with The Staff Canteen, Ruth takes a look back on the last 12 months since being crowned the Craft Guild of Chefs' Young National Chef of the Year 2017 and offers her advice to this year's competitors.

Ruth Hansom and The Ritz team
Ruth Hansom and The Ritz team

So as summer comes to an end, as does my year of being Craft Guild's Young National Chef of the Year. It's been a very strange September not preparing for the competition. When I won it was my fourth attempt at the title - I must admit I've kind of missed it! From October, 3 I'll be handing over to the new champion, it's quite sad but I'm also really excited to see what this year's competitors are going to produce. Two of them work with me at The Ritz so I've had a sneaky peak already.

There are a few pieces of advice I would give this year's competitors, after four years I made enough mistakes for the whole cast of Gandhi to learn from! Firstly, cook what you believe in and what you are comfortable with executing on the day. While it's important to get feedback and advice from others, you have to cook a menu you are passionate about because it's that passion that will show in what you produce. You have to be confident in executing it to the best of your ability in a stressful environment. Now isn't the time to test out liquid nitrogen ice cream if it's something you've never done! Next, keep it simple but significant. Aim to smash something that has amazing flavour rather than do something really complex to a mediocre standard - nobody wants to hear the word "nice" being used do they now?!

Lastly, enjoy yourself. If you've practised enough, all the hard work is done. In essence, all that's left to do is put your practice to plan and produce something you are proud of. Getting to the final is an amazing achievement. I know it's easy for me to say, ever famous for a good sulk when I don't win, but reflection is a marvellous thing. Remember, Sometimes you win sometimes you learn. That's a win win, right?

My year has been crazy and I can't thank Craft Guild enough for giving me this amazing opportunity and for their continual support. Prizes from great sponsors such as Churchill, Norwegian seafood, William Murray, Lockhart and CCS include study trips to Madrid and Norway as well as a £4000 grant to take up stages.

John Williams and Ruth Hansom
John Williams and Ruth Hansom

Speaking of competitions, it's getting ever closer to World Skills Abu Dhabi 2017. Ahhh! Myself and the rest of Team Uk will be flying out on the 11th following a send-off at the House of Commons. I've had a great 4 years preparing with the help of my Training Manager, Micheal Godfrey, so I can't wait to get out there and compete on a world stage. https://www.worldskillsuk.org/

The end of this month also sees the end of my time at The Ritz. It's a bitter sweet feeling after starting there as an apprentice on the glorious twelfth 2013, I've got my head chef John Williams to thank for giving me the best start any young chef can ask for. The Ritz kitchen is an amazing place for any chef to gain and hone skills. Nothing is done by half and you are sure to be taught how to do everything classically and to the highest of standards. It will be sad to leave somewhere that has supported me so much and to say goodbye to the ever flourishing Ritz Family but there is one thing for sure, I'll never forget my time spent here. That being said, I'm now looking forward to seeing different things to help me on my way to reaching that end goal. I could tell you what that is, but that would be cheating!

Thank you for reading, or rather browsing over, all my blab over the past year!

Now let's see who's taking over...

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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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 28th September 2017

A chef's diary with Ruth Hansom, October 2017