Two chefs from hotels in Newcastle and County Durham have been crowned the winners of the Great North Menu Challenge 2018.
Louise Harbottle from Rockliffe Hall in Darlington, County Durham, won the main course category with her roast lamb, lamb shoulder croquette, rosemary gnocchi and broccoli puree.
Manuel Prado, representing Jesmond Dene House in Newcastle, won both the starter and dessert categories. The young Venezuelan, who only started cooking professionally two years ago, served a caramelised red onion and yellison goats cheese tart starter and a rhubarb, apricot and white chocolate pave pudding.
The annual competition is organised by the North East Hotels Association (NEHA), the membership body which represents hoteliers across the region. It is run in partnership with Newcastle College and sponsored by the renowned North East specialist catering equipment supplier, Crosbys.
Louise and Manuel competed against 11 finalists from hotels across the region to win the 2018 Great North Menu Challenge, and took part in a cook-off at Newcastle College’s Chef’s Academy.
Their individual dishes were judged by industry experts including former North East Chef of the Year David Kennedy, Ben Crosby, director of Crosbys and Phil Pringle, lecturer and course leader in food and hospitality at Newcastle College.
The winning dishes will be prepared for hundreds of high-profile guests and industry leaders at the North East Hotels Association Excellence Awards evening at the Newcastle Marriott Hotel Gosforth Park on 10 May.
Each of the 13 chefs taking part in the competition were presented with a professional chef’s knife from Crosbys for reaching the final.
Lead judge, David Kennedy said: “It’s great to see a new generation of chefs in action. I was impressed with the standard of the entries and the level of professionalism and creativity on display.
“The competition challenged all the finalists to demonstrate skill and execution with their dishes which can be testing in an unfamiliar environment. It’s also been good to see how they operate under pressure and their approach to designing dishes which both look and taste good. Manuel and Louise met the brief and are worthy winners, the standard of cooking was excellent.”