A competition held by a top Teesside restaurant collective aimed at inspiring and developing the next generation of culinary talent has found a winner.
The ‘Chef Factor’ was launched to celebrate the 100 years’ restaurant experience held by hosts Jonathan Hall, Marcus Bennett, Adrian Rummel and Peter Huggins, partners in The Bay Horse in Hurworth and Muse and Cena in Yarm.
After receiving entries from across the Tees Valley and a gruelling live cooking challenge, Vicky Cartwright was selected as the winner by the Head Chefs of Muse, Cena and The Bay Horse.
Vicky, 20, from Darlington, said: “Cooking has always been a passion. I’ve been at home in the kitchen, creating dishes and trying new things for as long as I can remember!
“I’m so pleased to have been a part of the competition, winning is such an honour and I’m looking forward to seeing my dish in lights!”
Along with a meal for four at Muse to celebrate, Vicky’s dish, osso buco with Milanese risotto, will also feature on the menu at Muse during September to celebrate the restaurant’s fifth birthday.
Partner and restaurateur Marcus Bennett also offered Vicky an opportunity to be a part of the Muse team for a day.
He said: “We were impressed with Vicky’s calm attitude in the kitchen and the dish she produced.
“As creator, we have offered Vicky the chance to spend a day in our kitchen, cooking the dish for customers.”
The competition was hosted in the newly-refurbished facilities at Darlington College where Vicky studied for an NVQ in Food Preparation and Professional Cookery.
James Butterfield, head of facilities at Darlington College, was pleased to see a face he recognised.
He said: “Vicky was a wonderful student and keen to put her training to good use, helping at private functions held at the college.
“Seeing former students developing their skills further in the industry is great to see, especially with the vast array of opportunities it offers for travel, experiences and development from such a young age.”
• Pictured above (left to right): Muse head chef Paul Brown, Bay Horse head chef James Burkhart with winner Vicky Cartwright and restaurateur Marcus Bennett.