Sam Duggan, 19, has been named top chef at the Café Campanile Great British Chef competition after beating off two other finalists.
The cooking challenge was organised by Campanile Hotels and was held at Brakes’ new innovation kitchen in Reading.
The former Wakefield College student was tasked with creating his own dish from a selection of ingredients within a two-hour time limit, and his creation of smoked garlic and thyme leg steak impressed judges the most.
Sam is now a chef at the Campanile Hotel in Bradford after completing a year’s apprenticeship with the hotel chain.
He said: “I’ve always had a passion for food ever since I used to cook with my nan as a child but only really considered it as a career 18 months ago, so entering this competition provided me with a chance to see how much I have learned during my apprenticeship.
“The pressure was well and truly on having to create, cook and present a stand-out dish from a varied range of ingredients within a two-hour time limit, and I think if I’ve learned anything, it’s not to doubt myself so much.
“I have ambitions to become a head chef in the future and winning this competition is a massive confidence boost for me.”
Pictured: The winning dish – smoked garlic and thyme leg steak
Pictured: Winner – Sam Duggan from Campanile Bradford
Pictured: Winner – Sam from Campanile Bradford (in middle), with runners ups – Laurita from Campanile Liverpool (left) and David from Campanile Basildon (right).
The competition was judged by Lewis Walker, chef lecturer in culinary arts management at University College Birmingham, Zoe Gill, food and business development chef at Brakes, and Mark Aldridge, Director of Operations at Louvre Hotels Group UK – the parent company of Campanile Hotels.
Mark added: “The final was a closely fought encounter, but Sam deserved to take home the trophy for not only the quality of food he produced, but for his calm and composed approach in a pressurised environment.
“As an industry we need to be doing all we can to develop the next generation of chefs while also holding on to our existing ones, and this competition was a great way of shining a spotlight on the great culinary talent we have within the business.”
View some pictures from the competition: