The future is bright for a student who was crowned NECTA Future Chef 2017 by Peterlee-based Continental Chef Supplies.
Newcastle College student Calum Bell was given the accolade at this year’s annual NECTA Salon Culinaire awards.
The Level 3 student was mentored by professional chefs at the Michelin Starred House of Tides, Newcastle and was crowned winner after wowing NECTA judging panel with his Rabbit, Pancetta & Bean dish.
Second place went to Middlesbrough College’s Ben White, mentored by Tommy Banks at 1* The Black Swan, and 3rd place was awarded to Josh Lee from Leeds City College, mentored at Cux Culinary.
The full capacity competition welcomed eight finalists from across the North East and Yorkshire. Students were given one hour to create two identical rabbit dishes and even battled the elements, with the electricity supply cutting out not once, but twice during the final!
Sophie Hardy, marketing co-ordinator at Continental Chef Supplies, said: “We’d like to extend our congratulations to Calum, the other finalists, the tutors and mentors for all of their fantastic efforts.
“The judges commented that the standard of dishes was the highest it’s ever been and every student should be extremely proud of themselves – it was incredibly close and it just goes to show what amazing young culinary talent we have to celebrate in our region”.
As well as ongoing support from Continental Chef Supplies, the event, taking place over two days at Newcastle Racecourse, was also home to the famous senior NECTA Chef of the Year, which Rory Welch from The Bridge Tavern took 1st place.
Douglas Jordan, NECTA chairman added: “I’d like to thank everyone who attended the event and for the continuous support that Continental Chef Supplies has given to the Future Chef element of the competition.
“This is a life changing opportunity for these ambitious young chefs to compete against one another to showcase their culinary skills, as well as develop their skills and create an invaluable platform for their future careers within the hospitality and catering industry and we will be behind them all the way. This is not just a competition; it’s an ongoing relationship between us and the students and I was astounded by this year’s Future Chef standard. The future is very bright for these young chefs.”
Calum will receive two residential trips to Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir and Scotland’s Blackaddie as prizes, working alongside some of the biggest names in the culinary world, as well as a host of other prizes.