Two Thursdays ago, I left university in Sheffield to come home for the Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards, where I won the award for the Young Chef of the Year 2015.
Booker’s who sponsored my award have also rewarded me with a 2 day trip to London where I will be meeting Michel Roux Jnr and Jacob Kenedy… I literally can’t wait!!
Admittedly, I don’t let on a lot about myself. I’ve always wanted to compete but I’ve also feared the concept of being judged for so long that I never pushed myself to do competitions.
To be honest, in hindsight of the award’s evening, I’d set myself up to not be disappointed, so naturally I thought it would just be a night of complimentary food and drink… I never imagined I would be walking away with an actual award! Winning hasn’t exactly been a word in my vocabulary for pretty much all of my life so it actually felt WEIRD, I was shocked when they called my name. Walking up to the stage and having people you don’t know congratulating you was very surreal.
My winning dishes was Calves’ Liver escalopes and a Saxby cider reduction sauce, also a Sloe Gin pannacotta for my dessert.
I’ll just put it out there that I want to seriously work on my presentation skills, it wasn’t easy under pressure but it’s just a note to self for next time.
I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve had so many inner battles with my own self-esteem and that winning this award is only the beginning for me in recovering from all of that. The most important part for me is that I did take part and I didn’t shy away from a challenge this time which is rewarding in itself.
I could never even express in words my gratitude towards how much my parents have ran around for me. My dad who sat in the hotel car park until 12.30 at night for me to finish my shifts. My mother who told me to “Go to college!!!!!!!!!!!! You’re wasting your time in the factories!”. They have both been a blessing in my life.
Finally, my tutors who are all one of a kind people that I’m going to sorely miss. A true wealth of knowledge, all of whom put up with my cheekiness and never failed to make sure I tried, tried and tried again whether I liked it or not.
I’ve had people laugh at me when I said I’d got a job at a fish and chip shop. Once, a fellow class mate told me that I wasn’t going to be much and that I’d be begging him for a job one day. In one night, I showed myself that I can do anything if I set my heart on it. I’m just so grateful that I got to share that moment with my family and friends