Michelin-starred chef james mackenzie

Creative dishes land three young chefs in the final of Golden Apron 2017

These young chefs have some serious culinary skills

By Rebecca Shepherd, 07 March 2017
Creative dishes land three young chefs in the final of Golden Apron 2017

Whipping up creative, culinary and Yorkshire-inspired masterpieces for four judges has landed three young chefs in the final of a career-launching cooking competition.

"At 14 or 15, I would never have been able to cook like these guys – so much talent!"

Seventeen-year-old Zacharias Abbott from Stamford Bridge, Joseph Lees, from Whitby and Adam Rothery, 17, from Anlaby have made it through to the finals of Yorkshire's Golden Apron 2017.

The competition, which is sponsored by Asda, is run by Michelin-starred chef James Mackenzie of Pipe and Glass restaurant, in partnership with Yorkshire Wolds Cookery School and farming company JSR. It's open to those aged 14 to 19 and aims to inspire young chefs and cooks, whether they cook professionally or just for fun.

On Sunday, the trio battled it out against five other young chefs across the region where they had to prepare a dish of their own inspired by the theme ‘My Yorkshire’, to present to the judges.

The judges included James Mackenzie; Alison Johnson, Business Development Manager at Yorkshire Wolds Cookery School, Mark Richmond, ASDA’s Innovation Development Chef and Howard Cheshire, New Product Development Manager, at Cranswick plc.

And by the looks of the finalists' dishes, we can certainly see why the judges were impressed and decided to put them through to the finals!

On the day, Zacharias served up juniper-rolled Yorkshire venison with fondant potatoes, carrot, parsnip, rhubarb and ginger with a port and cranberry sauce.

Sixteen-year-old Joseph put together a pan-roasted rack of lamb (which had been bred by his grandfather) in a Dijon herb crust, roasted roots with a quince and rosemary reduction, and Adam put a 32-day dry-aged beef fillet with rock oysters, sweet potato gnocchi, seaweed and jus before the judges. 

And if that wasn’t enough, they were tasked with doing all of this on a budget of £10 and a two-hour time limit. 

Judge Mark said: “The standard was brilliant – it’s phenomenal what these young people are turning out at such a young age. They should all be very proud.”

And fellow judge, Alison added: “We’re delighted to have these young chefs at the Yorkshire Wolds Cookery School – they produced some remarkably stylish dishes which all tasted delicious.”

The young chefs were also later challenged by James to whip up a pudding of apple and rhubarb crumble with spiced ginger custard but using their own choice of method.

Talking about the finalists James said: “We saw so much creativity at the semi-finals – there’s some really great potential for the future of the industry here. At 14 or 15, I would never have been able to cook like these guys – so much talent!”

On Monday March 20, the three young chefs will be put through their paces when they take part in the final where they’ll be required to cook alongside James at a gala dinner at his restaurant the Pipe and Glass for 70 covers. 

Good luck guys!

Photo credit: Tony Bartholomew/Turnstone Media