Eighteen-year-old Kurtus, from Selby, was ‘over the moon’ at winning the title in a keenly-fought final at the Pipe and Glass. And sponsors ASDA waited until the event had started to announce a surprise addition to the prize package – that Kurtus will be working with them to create a new food product to add to their range.
The competition, which last year celebrated its third year, is run by James in conjunction with the Yorkshire Wolds Cookery School and farming company JSR, both based at Southburn near Driffield. Sponsored last year by ASDA and Cranswick plc, it’s open to young chefs aged between 14 and 19 from across the county.
Kurtus, a Level 2 Professional Cookery student at Selby College, beat off fierce competition from Zacharias Abbot (16) from Stamford Bridge, a Level 2 Professional Cookery student at York College, and 15-year-old Jemima Harpin from Nun Monkton, who is studying for GCSEs including food and nutrition at Queen Margaret’s School, York.
The trio of talented teenagers cooked their own pork dish and a pudding recipe supplied by James at the semi-final at the Yorkshire Wolds Cookery School. For the final each cooked a starter-sized portion of a dish of their own design for 70 guests who then voted ‘blind’ on the three dishes.
Kurtus’s winning dish was herb-crusted fillet of pork, apple and black pudding bon bon, Ampleforth Cider and butternut squash purée. Zacharias created a dish of Two-Chefs-ale-braised shin of Yorkshire Wagyu beef, pumpkin boulangère and purée, kale and horseradish, while Jemima’s contribution to the menu was smoked haddock and leek tart with a poached hen’s egg, mashed potato and Cheddar crust.
The three were supported in the kitchen throughout the day by James and his team, and by Mark Richmond, Innovation Development Chef at ASDA.
James said: “I’m very passionate about bringing young people into the industry. The standard this year was brilliant – I’m sure I couldn’t cook this well at their age!”
Mark said: “I can’t believe the quality and standard of cooking from these young chefs – the flavours are absolutely outstanding. It’s really exciting for me to be able to announce that a product from one of them will be landing on ASDA’s shelves in the near future.”
The winner was announced by Fiona Lambert, ASDA’s Vice President – Brand Design and Development, who said: “Kurtus will be working with us to create a new product, which is the lifeblood of our business.”
JSR CEO Tim Rymer said: “We’ve never had such a high standard of entries as we have this year – all the three finalists are excellent chefs.”
As part of his prize, Kurtus also received a work placement with sponsors and food suppliers Cranswick plc, whose Sales and Marketing Director Marcus Hoggarth said: “The three finalists are all incredibly technically gifted. We look forward to welcoming Kurtus to our team to learn about the business.”
In-kind sponsors of the Golden Apron 2015 were Hodgson Fish, wine merchants House of Townend, catering clothing and equipment suppliers Russums, and ingredients suppliers Wellocks and The Yorkshire Wagyu Company.
The other five semi-finalists for the title of Golden Apron 2015 were:
- Megan Grant (15) from Doncaster
- Molly Lyster (14) from Huddersfield
- Katie Mayes (18) from Castleford
- Josh Rowan (17) from Hessle
- Martha Wood (16) from Knaresborough.
Could you be the Golden Apron 2016? Keep an eye on the website for announcement: