Thomas Reeves, L’Enclume Protégé Scoops 2017 North West Young Chef Crown

Essential  Cuisine

Essential Cuisine

Premium Supplier 30th May 2017

Thomas Reeves, L’Enclume Protégé Scoops 2017 North West Young Chef Crown

A young chef from the world-famous L’Enclume in Cartmel, Cumbria, has emerged victorious from a field of competitors described by judges as “the best yet” in the climax of Essential Cuisine’s 2017 North West Young Chef Competition.
Thomas Reeves, 22, kept a cool head to see off five other young charges, including 2016 winner Daniela Tucci, who came second this time around, during a live two-and-a-half-hour cook off, held yesterday at Manchester College. Judges including British Culinary Federation Chairman, Matt Davies, ex-Le Gavroche head chef, Steven Doherty, award winning-chef, Mary-Ellen McTague and Master Chef of Great Britain, Brian Mellor, praised Thomas for his focus, consistency and superior marriage of modern and traditional techniques.

With ‘local’ and ‘seasonal’ the key watchwords of the competition, Thomas’s winning three-course menu consisted of: Asparagus, Poached Egg and Hollandaise, a main of Lamb Short Saddle, Baby Artichokes, Black Garlic and Potato, and a Strawberries, Buttermilk, Apple Marigold and Hazelnut dessert.

On the win Thomas said: “It’s unbelievable and so exciting. When I entered, I knew I had a chance of getting to the final but never thought I’d win. I just tried to focus on my cooking and keep my head down rather than look at what the other finalists were doing.”

Thomas was quick to praise mentor and L’Enclume Head Chef, Tom Barnes, for his support alongside that of his brigade. As well as the coveted title, he will receive £500 and an automatic qualification into the semi-finals of the Craft Guild of Chefs’ Young National Chef of the Year competition, where he will square off against the best young chefs from the rest of the country.

Thomas added: “Last year I saw the Young National Chef of the Year finalists at the Restaurant Show and wanted to get into it. With this competition offering a guaranteed seeded entry, it was perfect for me. I’ll try my best to go and win it for the North West!”

Chairman of judges, Brian Mellor said: “What a year! Yet again we’ve seen the standard of competition raised to new levels – which makes Thomas’s achievement even more remarkable. He was methodical, consistent and an absolute pleasure to watch – attributes that would have been drilled into him at a quality establishment like L’Enclume.”

Essential Cuisine Business Development Chef and judge, Jonathan Harvey-Barnes, added: “Congratulations to Thomas, and the entire field of young chefs who cooked with a composure and assuredness beyond their years of experience. They’re listening to what’s happening in the industry with regards to trends and styles and this is evident in their cooking. It makes me and the Essential Cuisine team proud to be part of the North West’s thriving culinary scene.”

The finalists in full:

Winner: Thomas Reeves, 22, L’Enclume, Cartmel

Runner-up: Daniela Tucci, 20, The Art School, Liverpool

Cyril Gabriel, 22, Carden Park, Chester

Ryan Lee, 21, Rothay Manor, Ambleside

Kieran Gill, 22, The Art School, Liverpool

Mai Trising, 21, The Black Swan, Kirkby Stephen

Essential Cuisine’s North West Young Chef Competition calls on chefs, aged 23 or under, to produce a restaurant quality, three-course meal for two with an emphasis on the very best of local and seasonal produce.

This year the competition underwent a radical format change, brought about by the surge in gifted chefs from the area and the growing recognition of the region’s importance to the talent pipeline. The new format comprised two semi-finals, held at Warrington College and Kendal College respectively, with chefs from multiple regions squaring off in dual high pressure cook-offs.

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