Young chef Emma Grant (17) has been crowned the winner of Young Chef in Rotary International’s Great Britain and Ireland national competition. Emma, who is a first year City and Guilds Professional Cookery student at the Cumbernauld campus, beat more than 5000 other young hopefuls to take the prestigious title at an exciting final in Lincoln. The talented youngster, who works part-time at the award-winning fine dining restaurant Brian Maule at Le Chardon D’Or in Glasgow, won a host of prizes, donated on behalf of the competition’s sponsor Filippo Berio. This includes £250 and a trip of a lifetime to the Filippo Berio olive groves in Tuscany where she will experience real Italian cooking and a day’s tuition at a Michelin Star restaurant.
Emma – who was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Cumbernauld – saw off very stiff competition from seven other contestants in the final, whose ages ranged from 13 to 17.
Her winning menu was:
Starter: Breast of quail with butternut risotto Main: Hake with cannellini and chorizo bean stew, served with a bean puree Dessert: Panna cotta with vanilla poached plums and granola crumble.
Judges told Emma her main course of fish was “absolutely perfect” and that she should be very pleased with herself.
Rotary’s Young Chef was created to give young people across Great Britain and Ireland the chance to display their culinary talents, while discovering the importance of healthy eating. The competition is open to anyone aged 11-17 and entrants compete to make it through to the local and regional heats, in the hope of making to the national final. Previous competitors of Rotary Young Chef have gone on to start their culinary careers working with Michelin Star chefs.
A delighted Emma said:
“I don’t think it has sunk in. I’m really chuffed. The competition was very strong. When my name hadn’t been called out by the time they announced the second place winner I thought I had lost it – so when they called my name out as winner I was pretty shocked.”
Ravind Busgeeth, president of the Rotary Club of Cumbernauld, added:
“We’re incredibly proud that Emma has won such a fantastic competition. The whole experience really helps to develop young people who show a flair for cooking, and we wish Emma the best of luck for the future. I know she’ll go far.”
Emma’s Chef Lecturer, Paul Clark – who accompanied Emma to the final, along with her dad Mark and a representative of the Rotary Club of Cumbernauld – said:
“The standard of dishes in the final cook off were of really high quality. Emma managed to keep her nerve and produce some great tasting dishes on the day in demanding circumstances. Winning is a great reward for the hard work and hours of practice Emma has put into the competition. She has won an exceptional prize.”
Emma attended an industry access course at New College Lanarkshire for six months before joining the City and Guilds Professional Cookery course in August last year.
During this time she was picked to attend a three week course in the French gourmet capital city of Lyon.
She’s also had stints of working at Glenskirlie House Hotel in Stirlingshire and the Corinthian Hotel in Glasgow before taking up her current part time weekend Commis Chef role working on starters and desserts in Le Chardon D’Or kitchen run by Brian Maule, a former head chef for the world famous Michelin-award winning Roux brothers.
”I love cooking and I want to travel. It’s one and a half years since I started to do this and I’m just taking my time and really enjoying it,” she said. “We’ve got great lecturers and facilities at the College in Cumbernauld and I wouldn’t have got to where I am now without their help and encouragement.”