Oliver cooks up success in chef contest

Grand Hotel chefs
Grand Hotel chefs

A talented apprentice chef has beat off stiff competition from entrants across the country to be named runner-up in the prestigious 2012 Master Chefs of Great Britain Young Chief of the Year competition.

Oliver Smith works at Eastbourne’s five-star Grand Hotel and was one of only six chefs selected for the finals. 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 Master Chefs of Great Britain is the professional association representing the country’s top chefs and 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 said, “This was my first ever competition and I’m delighted I was able to present my dishes to such distinguished chefs and judges.”

Chef Roser said, “Oliver has spent time working in the Mirabelle kitchen and I was very impressed with his aptitude and keenness to progress. He came up with all the recipes and put in a lot of his own time preparing for the event, kept his cool in the cook-off and to be runner-up in such a big competition is a real credit to his hard work. He is a very talented young chef.”