Brandon wins Aspiring Chef of the Year 2019

Brandon Vize, an 18-year-old Level 2 catering student from Catterick, has been named overall winner of Rockliffe Hall’s Aspiring Chef of the Year 2019 competition.

Brandon, who studies Professional Cookery at Darlington College, beat off competition from students with higher qualifications than him, to win the title at a special lunch held on the final day of Rockliffe Hall’s Festival of Food.

Brandon’s starter was chosen as the winning dish by diners attending the lunch and follows a tough selection process.

Students studying Levels 2 and 3 Professional Cookery or Patisserie and Confectionary courses at the college were first invited to create an aspirational three course banqueting lunch menu, inspired by the North East of England.

Then in January, a winner was announced for each of the starter, main course and dessert categories, following a cook off and judging by top chefs from Rockliffe Hall.

At this stage, the judges were so impressed with the dishes that they announced a fourth winner, who created an additional fish course at the special luncheon.

Brandon and the three other short-listed catering students then recreated their dishes at the winners’ luncheon on February 9.

Brandon’s starter of Beetroot Crumbed Goats Cheese with Candied Walnuts and Parma Ham wowed the diners and won him the overall accolade of Aspiring Chef of the Year.

The other three short-listed chefs were Michelle Goldsbury, 18, and Hannah Sloane, 18, both from Darlington, and Jade Williams, 17, from Crakehall.

Brandon says: “I love cooking and to be given the opportunity to create a dish from scratch and serve it to diners at a five star hotel is an amazing opportunity that I won’t forget. For my dish to be chosen as the winner is a dream come true!”

Aaron Craig, Rockliffe Hall’s new hall executive chef, added: “While all four young chefs produced outstanding dishes at the event, Brandon’s was exceptional.

“The fact he is currently studying for his Level 2 when some of the other competitors are already Level 3 is a credit to him.

“We hope this competition has helped inspire the next generation of chefs and we look forward to seeing how their careers progress.”

• Pictured above (left to right): Aaron Craig, New Hall Executive Chef, Rockliffe Hall; Brandon Vize, Aspiring Chef of the Year winner; Dave Santon, Demi Chef de Partie, New Hall, Rockliffe Hall; Dawn Cobb-Neate, Catering Tutor, Darlington College.