2nd May 2014

Search Launched for Taste of Grampian Aspiring Young Chef 2014

Top Scottish chef Nick Nairn has launched a new north-east initiative which aims to track down the Taste of Grampian Aspiring Young Chef 2014.

The award, which is being supported by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), Native by Nick Nairn and North East Scotland College Hospitality Team, is aimed at encouraging young people to consider a culinary career and to kindle a real passion for top quality local produce among chefs of the future.

The competition final will see a cook-off taking place on June 7th at Taste of Grampian which is now firmly established as one of Scotland’s top food events. Nick Nairn is one of the celebrity chefs cooking at this year’s event at the Thainstone Centre, Inverurie.

The competition is open to all young people, aged 16 to 19, with a passion for food – from those working as commis chefs to college students and school pupils. All that is required is to devise a menu and recipes consisting of their chosen starter and main course.

In keeping with the Taste of Grampian event’s ethos, the menu must showcase seasonal Grampian produce, where possible sourced from local suppliers. Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb, or Specially Selected Pork plus a local seafood product should be included in the menus.

The entrants are being asked to strongly reflect the theme of “Homecoming” in their menu choice by considering what visitors to the area would want to experience when sampling local Scottish food.

After the first round of menu submissions, the shortlisted chefs will be announced and invited to prepare their dishes for the judges at Taste of Grampian, including award-winning cook and food writer Lady Claire Macdonald and representatives from NES College.

The overall winner will receive two weekends of work experience, courtesy of Nick Nairn, at his very popular Native by Nick Nairn Restaurant in Aberdeen and the Nick Nairn Cook School.

The successful young chef will also receive £200 for the purchase of food preparation equipment, courtesy of Quality Meat Scotland. The runner-up will receive a £200 prize for food preparation equipment, with the third and fourth placed finalists each receiving a £50 voucher.

John Gregor, Executive Director of the ANM Group which hosts Taste of Grampian, joined Nick Nairn today at the Nick Nairn Cook School to launch the award and brush up on his skills by cooking the perfect steak under the watchful eye of the renowned chef.

Mr Gregor said: “This initiative is a really exciting opportunity to showcase the passion and talent of some of the north-east’s top chefs of the future.

“We hope the award will help to raise the profile of the skills these young people are developing and we are absolutely delighted that Nick will give the winner such a fantastic work experience opportunity both at his busy cook school and his acclaimed restaurant.”

Jim McLaren, Chairman of Quality Meat Scotland, said the initiative also offered the opportunity to reinforce the message about what sets the top quality food produced in Scotland apart.

“It is very important that our up-and-coming young chefs understand the hard work and commitment which goes into producing world-class Scottish produce such as Scotch Beef, Scotch Lamb and Specially Selected Pork,” said Mr McLaren.

“We hope this initiative, which also challenges the chefs to minimise food waste, will encourage our young chefs to have a better understanding of all that is behind brands such as these so they share the our farmers’ pride when they are preparing dishes made using these top-class ingredients.”

Application forms are available from Carol Fowler at Prime Event Management on carol@primeeventmanagement.com or 01224 646488. The deadline for the submission of written entries is Tuesday 20 May 2014. Applicants must be available to attend the final on the 7th June from 10am – 2pm.

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