Tom’s Westcountry menu caters for judges’ tastes

Academy Nathan Outlaw

Academy Nathan Outlaw

Standard Supplier 19th June 2014

Tom’s Westcountry menu caters for judges’ tastes

A BURSARY in memory of a popular Bampton man has helped yet another catering student to move a step closer to fulfilling their culinary dreams.

The Ray Kenny bursary was started by Isabelle Kenny, from Bampton, in memory of her husband Ray, a Dorchester Hotel trained chef and educator who died in 2007. This year the prize of a cash sum of £2,000 and a work placement at the Michelin-starred Lucknam Park Hotel, near Bath, was won by Tom Hellier.
Competitors had to cook a starter, main and a dessert, with a Westcountry theme, on a budget of just £15.

Tom, who studies at Cornwall College, impressed judges with his three-course menu, of locally caught Newlyn mackerel, buttermilk poached venison, and a Kernow chocolate fondant with crushed shortbread.

Judging this year were Lucknam Park Hotel executive chef Hywel Jones, former Dorchester Hotel chef Stuart Mackerrell and former bursary winner Jade Stephens.
Hywel Jones, who will work with Tom when he completes his placement at Lucknam Park later this year, said: “It’s been absolutely fantastic. I think there’s a real momentum about this competition – the entries are just getting stronger and stronger. You always think it can’t get any better but they keep on pushing the boundaries.”

Referring to fellow judge Jade, who won the bursary back in 2012, and was subsequently offered a job at Lucknam Park after her placement, he said: “I think Jade is a perfect example of why this bursary was set up. I think today, when I saw her judging, I realised how far she’s come in two years – she understands the textures, the balances and tastes.”

Phil Davis, principal at City College Plymouth, which hosted the competition, was impressed by the standards shown by all competitors: “It gives them the chance to really focus their mind and concentrate on what they are really capable of. You know, this is a great opportunity, and all the feedback we’ve had is that this is a life-changing, and career-changing, opportunity for someone young who’s just starting their career.”

Delighted with his win, Tom said: “I’m a bit speechless really. A lot of hard work went into it – I was thinking about it every day. But it just goes to show that if you put work in, you get the rewards out”.

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