22nd March 2017
Congratulations to Level 2 Professional Cookery student Zacharias Abbott on winning the title of the Golden Apron, Yorkshire’s best young chef.
It was third time lucky for Zacharias (formerly of Archbishop Holgate’s School) who had entered the competition twice before, previously reaching the semi-final and final. Winning the title this year brings him a package of prizes including the chance to design a range of products which will appear on the shelves of sponsors ASDA next Christmas.
The Golden Apron competition is run by James Mackenzie, the chef/owner of the Michelin-starred 'Pipe and Glass' in South Dalton, and 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.
In the final Zacharias served up his ‘Yorkshire themed’ main dish; juniper-rolled Yorkshire venison with fondant potatoes, carrot, parsnip, rhubarb and ginger with a port and cranberry sauce, as well as a pudding recipe supplied by James Mackenzie at the semi-final held at the Yorkshire Wolds Cookery School last month. A starter-sized portion of the main dishes were served to 70 guests who then voted ‘blind’ on their favourites.
Zacharias said: “I’m over the moon to win. I loved every second of it and luckily everything went to plan in the final. I sensed all was going well, my timings worked and I managed to hold it together to take the title. From being young I wanted to cook – there’s nothing else I want to do.”
The young chefs 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.”
The two runners-up were Joseph Lees (16) from Whitby, and Adam Rothery (17), from Anlaby.
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 these young chefs 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.” and Tim Rymer, CEO of JSR Farms said that the standard of entries was getting higher, and the competition tougher, every year.
Zacharias, aged 17, currently works part-time at Middlethorpe Hall, and will join the country house hotel’s team full-time when he leaves York College this summer. As part of his prize, he will also receive a work placement with sponsors and food suppliers Cranswick plc. Howard Cheshire, New Product Development Manager, at 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.