Young chefs get in the Spirit

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Hylton Le Roux has been named Spirit Group's Young Chef of the Year after a closely-fought cook off.Hylton, 24, won the accolade by creating a...

Hylton Le Roux has been named Spirit Group's Young Chef of the Year after a closely-fought cook off.

Hylton, 24, won the accolade by creating a starter, main course, vegetarian main course and dessert, against the clock, at Spirit's development kitchen in Burton upon Trent.

The competition was open to all Spirit employees - not just chefs. Entrants submitted a menu and the four most interesting and practical were chosen for the cook off.

John Fern, who works in the company's finance department, made the final four along with chefs David Smith from Rogano's in Glasgow, Duncan Ballantyne from Scruffy Murphy's in Edinburgh as well as eventual winner Hylton who works at the Prince Alfred in London's Maida Vale.

Dishes created during the cook off included a goats cheese and tomato tart, seared venison on beetroot fondant with savoy cabbage and red wine jus and banana and Bailey's cheesecake.

The judges included Ed Hyslop, managing director of Woodward Food Service, Frances McKellar head chef of the award-winning Fire Stables in Wimbledon, Nigel Scorey, managing director of Punch Tavern's supply co and The Publican​ catering editor Kerry Rogan. Spirit's director of food Jason Danciger supervised the judging.

Operations director Peter Myers, who organised the competition, said: "The entries to the competition all showed tremendous quality and freshness of thinking. Those who got to the final really deserve their rewards of a holiday in Tuscany for Hylton and dinner at the Ivy restaurant in London for the other three contestants."

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