Apprentice is more like a Master Chef

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TALENTED apprentice chef Oliver Smith beat entrants from around the country to come second in the prestigious 2012 Master Chefs of Great Britain Young Chef of the Year competition.

Oliver, who is working at Eastbourne’s five-star Grand Hotel, was one of only six chefs selected for the finals and it was the first time he had ever entered a competition.

The 20-year-old is in his final year of the three-year Specialised Chefs’ Scholarship at Bournemouth and Poole College where apprentices divide their time between the classroom and gaining practical experience in a busy working kitchen environment. Oliver was mentored for the competition by Gerald Roser, head chef at the Grand Hotel’s Mirabelle Restaurant who has been Chairman of the Master Chefs of Great Britain since 2008.

The annual competition is open to chefs aged 23 or under working in a restaurant or hotel kitchen or training at a recognised college of further education. It is designed to allow young chefs to produce a three-course meal using a number of set ingredients and a classic recipe whilst testing their skills and giving them the opportunity to put their own flair and imagination into the dishes.

Oliver’s winning menu was an appetiser of John Dory with red pepper veloute, fennel salad, garlic oil and lemon verbena jelly followed by chicken chasseur served with parmesan and mascarpone polenta and braised chard. For dessert he prepared an orange pannacotta with hibiscus mousseline and clove syrup.