Chefs compete for the top prize

MHDE-05-07-11 CHEF JUL05 (2)'Chef Will Mountain, Saracen's Head, Little Brington.
MHDE-05-07-11 CHEF JUL05 (2)'Chef Will Mountain, Saracen's Head, Little Brington.

THREE chefs who work in the Daventry area have won places in the finals of a regional culinary competition.

Daventry-born Scott Grimsley from The Olde Red Lion in Kislingbury, Will Mountain of The Saracen’s Head in Little Brington and Lee Gaskins of The Terrace Restaurant at Highgate House in Creaton make up three of the four competitors in the Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards 2011/2012.

The chefs took part in a cook-off at the kitchens at Silverstone Circuit’s conference kitchens when each chef was challenged to create two mouthwatering courses from a basket of ingredients.

It is the first time Daventry resident Mr Mountain, 23, who has been at The Saracen’s Head for only six months, has entered the awards.

He said: “I was really thrilled to be in the competition; it was a privilege given that I was up against some really good chefs.

“I was initially a little nervous as I hadn’t cooked at a place like Silverstone before and I wasn’t familiar with a couple of the ingredients but you learn to adapt quickly.

“I was very pleased with what I cooked but feel a little bit in limbo waiting for the results.”

Scott Grimsley, 31, also from Daventry, has worked at The Olde Red Lion since 2006 and considered it a reward for the work he’d put in over the years.

He said: “I use only the best ingredients from near and far together and with attention to detail I am able to produce dishes my customers, I hope, are delighted with.

“Within the small kitchen, together with my colleague, we cook everything from fresh including bread, desserts, ice cream and stocks.

“I was fortunate to be part of the team at The Olde Red Lion when we were awarded the best pub/bar restaurant at last year’s awards and it was a wonderful achievement.”

Highgate House chef Lee Gaskins, 40, from Warwickshire, who has been at the restaurant for four years, said: “I initially put myself forward just to see how I compete against the other chefs in the local area.

“I am really happy to be in the final but we shall see what happens when the winners are announced.”

The three chefs competed in the final against Hao Dang of Dang’s Vietnamese Restaurant in Northampton. Among the dishes cooked were braised lamb, grilled asparagus and a mini summer pudding with a mini white wine jelly.

The winners and runners up for the awards, devised by Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership, will be announced at a dinner at Holdenby House on Thursday September 1.

For more information or to see the chefs in action at the cook-off, visit tinyurl.com/63uklth.