Young chef Ben carving a career

Doncaster College student Ben Cooke, 18, has been named Yorkshire Chef of the year. He is pictured here with l-r Lisa Pyott, Chef Lecturer, Thomas Bracha, 17, Comis and Chris Waddington, Chef Lecturer, who assisted him on the night. Picture: Marie Caley D3638MC
Doncaster College student Ben Cooke, 18, has been named Yorkshire Chef of the year. He is pictured here with l-r Lisa Pyott, Chef Lecturer, Thomas Bracha, 17, Comis and Chris Waddington, Chef Lecturer, who assisted him on the night. Picture: Marie Caley D3638MC

A CATERING student has sliced his way through the competition to be crowned Young Yorkshire Chef of the Year.

Doncaster College student Ben Cooke, 18, won the first Great Yorkshire Cook-Off’s title for his fish main course, created from an array of locally-sourced delicacies.

Ben, with the help of comis chef and fellow student Thomas Bracha, 17, took the title after he cooked up seabass with baby watercress salad and homemade piccalilli for the panel of judges and 45 diners.

He said: “I loved the experience, it was a great day and I took a lot away from it.

“Everyone at the Bar and Bistro where I work were really proud of me and put it up on their facebook page to let everyone know.”

The level two professional cookery diploma student not only took the top title, but also left with a job offer at gastropub The Crown Inn in Great Ouseburn near York, a set of knives and a gastronomy set as used by Heston Blumenthal to cook up his culinary concoctions.

A judging panel of food critics and restaurant owners found Ben’s dish was the best, although it was a close call as there was only half a point between his main course and second place.

He hopes to use this victory as a stepping stone for his final year at college, before setting up his own seafood restaurant in Canada.

After Ben’s prestigious win it was back to normal studies with his classmates and hitting the streets of Doncaster to whip up some tasty treats for shoppers in the Market Place all in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust.

As part of the competition students from around Yorkshire were asked to put together a menu, with their tutors selecting the most promising dish to go forward to the finals.

Ben was then put into a professional kitchen against three other young cooks.