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Student finalist in South African Young Chef of the Year

Monday 21 September 2020

Selby College student places second in global South African Young Chef of the Year competition

Ben Gillmister, Level 2 Hospitality and Catering student at Selby College, has wowed the judges of the global South African Young Chef of the Year competition, claiming second place.

Now in its eighth year, the competition aims to find the UK’s Top Young Chef in South African cuisine. Ben is one of six finalists who were asked to prepare a main course which showcases South African stone fruits such as plums, peaches and nectarines, alongside a starter or dessert as part of the final.

Ben chose to make Venison as his main dish, followed by a honey and almond cake with pear, sugar coated almonds and a salted caramel sauce for dessert, which secured him second place in the global competition.

“Cooking is a great passion of mine so I’m extremely happy to have come second place in such a significant competition in the catering and hospitality industry,” said Ben. “I want to say thank you to my tutors Liz and Adrian who have supported me throughout this process and for giving me the confidence to enter such a prestigious competition as South African Young Chef of the Year.”

Due to Covid-19, the finalists had to submit videos of themselves preparing and finishing their dishes to the judges. Entrants also had to provide details of the ingredients they used, the method and a colour image of the dishes.

“I’m extremely proud of Ben for his resilience and what he has achieved in this competition in what has been an extremely challenging time,” said Liz Brighton, Lecturer in Hospitality & Catering at Selby College. “Ben was so eager to get back into the kitchen to complete his final dish and desert, demonstrating his dedication, hard work and passion for cooking and trying out new recipes and techniques – and I’m glad this has been recognised by the judges.”

The competition encourages entrants to research South African cooking to inspire their menus and demonstrate an understanding of South African flavours.

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Ben Gillmister and final dish