Catterick teen wins aspiring chef competition at Rockliffe Hall

From left, 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.

A Catterick teenager has been named overall winner of Rockliffe Hall’s Aspiring Chef of the Year 2019 competition.

Brandon Vize, 18, 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 confectionery 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 said: “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, said: “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.”

Catering tutor at Darlington College, Dawn Cobb-Neate, said: “The standard of the food produced by our students at this inaugural event was exceptional and Brandon was a worthy winner.

“At Darlington College we pride ourselves on training our chefs to the highest standards, and to be able to introduce our students to competitions such as this with the support of such a prestigious hotel is inspiring.

“We are looking forward to working with Rockliffe Hall in the future to continue to encourage the chefs of the future.”