Adam Leyland Simpson, 25, has won the HIT Training’s Apprentice MasterChef in a competition which was held on 6 June at Central Street Cookery School in St Luke’s.
The competition’s finalists had to create a ‘stand-out dish’ in 60 minutes and produce four plates of their own signature dish within a three-hour period.
Leyland Simpson, who is currently undertaking the level 2 Commis Chef Apprenticeship at St Bedes College, took the first place with his dish of battered hake with fennel croquette, cherry tomatoes, burnt kale and cauliflower purée with a lemon vinaigrette.
The panel of judges included Mike di Bella, head chef at the Dean Inn Goodwood and previous HIT MasterChef winner, Michael Bache, executive chef at Bath Rugby, Andrew Green from Craft Guild of Chefs and HIT’s Jill Whittaker and John Hyde.
As the winner of the competition Leyland Simpson will receive a full Tsuki knife set (worth £500), a glass trophy, a stáge at a local Michelin Star restaurant, a meal for two at The Dean Inn Goodwood, a subscription to the Craft Guild of Chefs and an invitation their annual food festival.
Leyland Simpson said: “It’s been a tough day, which included getting up at 4.30am to go to Billingsgate Market to buy my fresh produce. It was quite nerve wracking competing against such a massive group of people but as soon as I put the chefs’ jacket on and I got into the kitchen after the debrief, I was ready for it.”
Paul Mannering, principal of the HIT Chef Academy, added: “By witnessing such an impressive display of skill and passion at this competition, it shows just how valuable apprenticeships are for those looking to embark on or further their career in hospitality.
“They are equally important for hospitality businesses looking to future-proof their business by recruiting and retaining talented individuals that will, in turn, help to strengthen the industry as a whole.”