JSR News

Wakefield student crowned Yorkshire’s Best Young Chef

7th May 2013


Philippa Lister has won the coveted title of ‘Yorkshire’s Best Young Chef’, after the 15 year old Wakefield Girls High School student wowed judges and diners at the final of The Golden Apron cookery competition. The final took place on Monday 29th April at The Pipe and Glass Inn in South Dalton, and saw the three finalists compete in a cook-off for 70 VIP guests.

On the night, the finalists were asked to prepare a course each and the winner was determined by a combination of the diners’ and judges’ votes. Gemma Lawrence, who is also 15 and from Doncaster, was responsible for cooking the starter, Josh Whitehead, 18, from Leeds, cooked the main course, and Philippa prepared the winning dessert dish.

Philippa’s dessert was a celebration of Yorkshire ingredients and consisted of a Yorkshire tea panna cotta with rhubarb and parkin and Terry’s of York chocolate orange brownie with crystallised white rose petal. The dish was finished off with Yorkshire curd and sloe gin ice cream.

The Golden Apron is the first competition of its kind in the region and was the creation of James Mackenzie, Michelin Star Chef and Owner of the Pipe and Glass Inn, Tim Rymer, Chairman of JSR Farms and The Yorkshire Wolds Cookery School in Southburn. It also attracted sponsorship from Sainsbury’s and Hull-based Cranswick PLC, who have already committed to supporting the competition again next year.

JSR Chairman, Tim Rymer, comments: “The finalists have been on an exciting journey and have continued to impress at every stage of the competition. There are clearly some very talented young chefs within Yorkshire and we feel privileged to have been able to provide them with the opportunity to demonstrate and develop their skills in such an exciting competition.

“All three finalists served guests with courses of an exceptionally high standard using all local ingredients. Gemma prepared a smoked salmon starter that showed her technical ability and attention to detail and Josh’s main course featured pork with some perfect accompaniments.
However, it was the dessert prepared by Philippa that really was outstanding and showed even further what a promising young chef she is.”

As Yorkshire’s Best Young Chef, Philippa has won mentoring with James Mackenzie along with a work placement at Cranswick PLC working on the Sainsbury’s account with the new product development team. Philippa also won her very own ‘golden apron’ and a signed copy of James’ book, ‘On the Menu’. The two other finalists will be given a work experience placement at The Pipe and Glass Inn and Cranswick PLC in recognition of their efforts.

James Mackenzie comments: “The response to the competition has been amazing. It has been great to see such talented young cooks from all over Yorkshire come together to showcase their skills and show off the county’s great produce. We hope The Golden Apron has helped to inspire the next generation of chefs, and I’m looking forward to mentoring Philippa, Josh and Gemma.”

Bernard Hoggarth, Director of Cranswick PLC comments: “I felt it a real privilege to be involved in The Golden Apron competition and I was simply blown away by the quality of the young chef’s offerings at the final. The two girls were only 15, which is quite an achievement!

“The life blood of food retailing is innovation. So, I was very impressed by these young chefs who displayed great enthusiasm in producing James’ recipes with their own Yorkshire twists and innovative signatures.

“Philippa’s award will give her exposure to the Sainsbury’s development teams in London and she will work with the Cranswick chefs in our product development team. I really believe she has the talent to make it to the top. The judges were impressed by her calm, unflustered and mature approach in the kitchen and in front of the guests.

“It was a very close-run competition and I’m pleased to say that I believe next year’s Golden Apron will be even bigger. However, I can’t imagine how we will raise the bar on this year’s finalists.”

Philippa explains what it feels like to be crowned Yorkshire’s Best Young Chef: “I have always been passionate about local food and cooking, but I have learnt so much over the last few months. I have realised just how much work goes into designing a dish and then translating that into something that can be served in a restaurant. Cooking in a real kitchen with James Mackenzie was an absolute dream come true.
“I still can't believe I have won, because Gemma and Josh were both excellent contenders. I am on cloud 9! I have some fantastic opportunities ahead....I've already been asked to talk at a cookery course by The Yorkshire Wolds Cookery School, will get experience working on the Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference range with Cranswick PLC and will be able to get more experience at the Pipe and Glass Inn. I would like to thank all the organisers and sponsors for giving me this opportunity.”

The Golden Apron caught the imagination of young chefs from around the region when it opened for entries in December 2012. The competition took place across two heats from March – April 2013 at The Yorkshire Wolds Cookery School and culminated in the grand final at The Pipe and Glass Inn where the winner was decided with votes from both diners and the judges based upon the dishes served on the night.

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