A Fort William man has become the first “student” chef to reach the final of the Young Highland Chef of the Year competition.
Jamie Farmer, 21, is a City and Guilds professional cookery level 2 student at West Highland College UHI – Fort William.
He works at the local Brewer’s Fayre part time during his studies.
Mr Farmer received a trophy and certificate from award winning chef, Albert Roux.
The other six competitors were already working in industry at varying levels at well-known establishments such as Skibo Castle, and the judges commented very favourably on the fact that Mr Farmer was the first student chef to be selected to compete in the final.
The winner of the competition was a young chef from Thurso, Robert Smith, who is a sous chef at the Ulbster Arms Hotel in Halkirk.
The Young Highland Chef competition, now in its fifth year, is organised by North Highland College UHI’s Burghfield House training hotel and the Albert Roux Consultancy in association with Caterer and Hotelkeeper magazine.
Entrants aged between 18 and 30 were invited to submit a three-course dinner menu for two with langoustine in the starter, beef in the main and apple in the sweet, with a budget of £20 per cover.
The seven applicants who were judged to have come up with the best menus on paper went on to cook their dishes at the final.
Mr Farmer’s menu consisted of: Langoustine, Potato and Dill Cakes with Whisky and Crème Fraiche; Beef Medallions in Truffle Porter Sauce with Fondant Potato; and Toffee Apple Crumble and Crème Anglaise.
This had to be prepared in two hours and 45 minutes. Judging the dishes that day were Albert Roux OBE KFO, Andrew Fairlie, of Gleneagles Hotel, Steven Docherty of The First Floor Café in Windermere, Glen Watson of The Belfry in Sutton Coldfield and Derek Johnstone from Chez Roux at the Greywalls Hotel in East Lothian.
Mr Farmer was accompanied by WHC UHI college lecturer Michael Campbell who said: “While he didn’t win first place this year, we are extremely proud that he made such a strong contention in the final. His hard work has done him credit and he continues to demonstrate this level of application in his studies.”