The teenager, who had entered the competition twice before, reaching the semi-finals the first time and the finals the second, won a package of prizes including the chance to design a range of products which appeared on the shelves of sponsors ASDA last Christmas.
These were the Extra Special Triple Lamb Crown – which won the Christmas Meat award at the Quality Food Awards – and the 28 Day Matured Beef Rump Joint with a portobello, porcini and truffle duxelle.
Zacharias (18) is from Stamford Bridge near York, and completed a two-year professional cookery diploma at York College. He is now a senior chef de partie at York’s Middlethorpe Hall.
Over the moon
Zach said he was ‘thrilled, ecstatic and over the moon’ and had ‘loved every second’ of the competition.
“Normally my gran cooks at Christmas,” he said. “But this year we'll probably have one of my dishes!”
The Golden Apron is run by James Mackenzie, the Yorkshire Wolds Cookery School and farming company JSR, both based at Southburn near Driffield. It is sponsored by ASDA and Cranswick plc and is open to young chefs aged between 14 and 19 from across the county.
The two runners-up in the recent competition were Joseph Lees (then 16) from Whitby, who was studying at Caedmon College, including GCSE catering, and Adam Rothery (then 17), from Anlaby, who was studying level 2 culinary skills at Hull College.
The trio of talented teenagers cooked their own dish representing ‘My Yorkshire’ and a pudding recipe supplied by James at the semi-final held at the Yorkshire Wolds Cookery School. At the final at the Pipe and Glass, each cooked a starter-sized portion of their ‘My Yorkshire’ dish for 70 guests who then voted ‘blind’ on the three dishes.
Zacharias’s main dish was juniper-rolled Yorkshire venison with fondant potatoes, carrot, parsnip, rhubarb and ginger with a port and cranberry sauce.
Joseph prepared pan-roasted rack of lamb coated in a Dijon herb crust with sweet garlic, roasted roots with a quince and rosemary reduction.
Adam’s dish was 32-day dry-aged beef fillet and rock oysters with sweet potato gnocchi, seaweed and beef jus.
The three were supported in the kitchen by James and his team and by ASDA Innovations Development Chef Mark Richmond.
The winner was announced by Aisling Lyne, ASDA’s Senior Manager of Product Development and Innovations, who said: “Zacharias will be working with us and Cranswick to develop new dishes that will be on ASDA’s shelves at Christmas, and will be building on the very high standard that last year’s winner set.”
A brilliant standard
James Mackenzie said: “This year’s result was the closest it’s ever been – the standard was just brilliant. It’s all about their ideas, their recipes, and it goes on the plate exactly the way they want it – there’s no doubt that these three have a very, very bright future.”
Mark Richmond said: “Chefs seem to be getting younger and more inspiring – the skills that they show at such a young age are amazing. These three all have a burning ambition, which is very encouraging.”
Tim Rymer, CEO of JSR Farms said that the standard of entries was getting higher, and the competition tougher, every year.
As part of his prize, Zacharias will also receive a work placement with sponsors and food suppliers Cranswick plc. Howard Cheshire, New Product Development Manager, Cranswick plc said that Zacharias would work with his team to learn about the role of the development chef and see ideas through to the table.
In-kind sponsors of the Golden Apron 2017 were House of Townend, Russums, Wellocks, ABP Food Group, Holme Farmed Venison and Dunbia.
The Golden Apron, the search for Yorkshire’s best young chef, is taking a break in 2018 – but look out for details of next year’s competition towards the end of the year!