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19th April 2023

Riso Gallo names Young Risotto Chef of the Year competition winner

Written by: Edward Waddell
Emily Simkins, a 19-year-old chef from Hitchin, has been named as the winner of the Riso Gallo UK & Ireland Young Risotto Chef of the Year competition.

As a result of winning Emily will receive an all-expenses paid four-day work experience with renowned chef Fabio Pisani and Alessandro Negrini and their team at the two Michelin starred Il Luogo Aimo e Nadia in Milan, and will visit the rice mill of Riso Gallo.

Emily impressed the judges with her Jerusalem artichoke risotto. Chair of judges Paul Gayler, commented: “This competition goes from strength to strength each year, a great testimony to the young chef talent emerging in this country.

“Emily’s artichoke risotto was not only perfectly executed but also beautifully balanced, with traditional creaminess found in a great risotto, clever textures and presentation. An altogether outstanding dish.”

Emily competed against twelve young chefs in the Grand Final at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on the 3rd April 2023. It is the sixth year of the competition aimed at young chefs aged 17-23 years-old who are either in education or starting out in their professional careers.

The judges awarded two runners up places to Lee McDonagh and Nathan Cooper who have both won work experience at the Italian Embassy in London and also at the new Claude Bosi restaurant at the Peninsula hotel.

Emily added: “Wow. What an experience. I have loved every second of doing the Riso Gallo Young Risotto Chef of the Year Competition. I first entered the competition in 2021 when I joined level 2.

“This gave me the Inspiration and drive to enter again in 2022, producing a humble, seasonal and sustainable dish - Jerusalem Artichoke Risotto with Artichoke Bark, Leeds Blue Yorkshire Pecorino, Toasted Hazelnuts and Truffle Oil.

"I was awarded the wild card in my heat, and luckily, I was pulled through to the final. Since then, I was in early morning at college at any opportunity non-stop practicing making sure every element on my dish was as perfect as it could be."