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Mae Dionio takes the title of Young National Chef of the Year

The prestigious title of Young National Chef of the Year has been awarded to Mae Dionio from Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons after serving up three impressive plates of food to the judges.

Mae created a starter of Mayfield Hen’s egg with mushroom, lemongrass and ginger tea. Her main course was Confit salted Norwegian Cod with piquillo pepper, garden courgette, crispy salted cod and chorizo brandade, shellfish sauce. Apple tarte tatin with miso ice cream was her dessert.

Finishing in second place was Theo Hadjitofi from De Banke Group with Liam Rogers from Gleneagles in third place.

Chefs were asked to create an egg starter which included at least three or more of the following Future 50 Foods; pumpkin, heritage root vegetables, watercress, beans, pulses, cereals or grains.

For the main course, the chefs had to serve up a Provencal inspired dish using a choice of Norwegian haddock or cod fillet. The finalists served up a modern interpretation of a classic puff pastry dessert.

Lisa Goodwin-Allen, chair of judges and executive chef at Northcote, said: “I am passionate about mentorship and love supporting and seeing young chefs develop their skills, so it has been an absolute honour to be chair of judges for Young National Chef of the Year.

“Mae really impressed me and the other judges today by creating three stunning plates of food that absolutely nailed the brief. The hospitality industry is challenging right now but days and events like this show the true talent that is out there and gives us confidence that the future is in great hands.”

As winner of the competition, Mae will enjoy a ‘culinary trip of a lifetime’ to Norway, in conjunction with Seafood from Norway to celebrate sustainable seafood. The trip will include fishing in cold, clear Arctic waters, plenty of fantastic food and hopefully sightings of the northern lights.

As well as a product prize of £250 and a framed presentation plate, Churchill will also be taking Mae to a European city for a gastronomic experience trip. CCS (Continental Chef Supplies) presented a £500 voucher for her to spend within their range. Quorn Professionals has given her a Katto knife and sharpening stone.

Organiser of Young National Chef of the Year and food innovation & sustainability director, Sodexo UK and Ireland, David Mulcahy added: “Not only are we celebrating 50 years of our senior competition, but the young title also celebrates a decade this year.

“Since 2012 we have seen ten young winners go on to really make their mark in this industry including Luke Selby, Ruth Hansom and Danny Young. I am sure Mae will follow in their footsteps and has so many exciting opportunities to come in the next few years. She needs to grab each one with both hands as this is just the start of the journey.”

The Young National Chef of the Year is supported by Churchill, HIT Training, Quorn Foods, Seafood from Norway and Worshipful Company of Cooks.


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