Lancashire man working at Northcote Hotel in Langho wins coveted Young National Chef of the Year title

A Lancashire man has been unveiled as the new Young National Chef of the Year following a hotly contested final.
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Sam Dixon, demi chef de partie at Northcote in Langho, was named Young National Chef of the Year following a final at the University of West London.

The 23-year-old received the accolade for his winning menu which impressed a panel of judges that included some of the world’s leading Michelin Star chefs.

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The menu consisted of a Norwegian cod starter, a main course of Aged Waterford Farm duck, glazed meatball, Ascroft beetroot and a Manchester Tart for dessert .

Sam Dixon, demi chef de partie at Northcote in Langho, was named Young National Chef of the YearSam Dixon, demi chef de partie at Northcote in Langho, was named Young National Chef of the Year
Sam Dixon, demi chef de partie at Northcote in Langho, was named Young National Chef of the Year

Speaking of winning the title of Young Chef of the Year title Sam said: “It was a real surprise to win, but it felt great.

“There were nine people cooking in the final and they were all really talented chefs, so to be chosen as winner was just brilliant. This was my first major competition, and I still can’t believe I won.

“It is nerve-wracking, especially with some of the names that were there but meeting the judges was an amazing experience as they are all people I really admire.

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“Obviously having Lisa as a mentor has been fantastic, I’ve learnt so much from her both through my apprenticeship at Northcote and throughout the course of this competition.

“She has been a huge support to me, so I hope I have made her proud.”

Sam, who is from Langho in the Ribble Valley, is a graduate of the apprenticeship scheme at Northcote and started in the Michelin Star kitchen when he was just 18.

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Since completing his apprenticeship, he has progressed to the role of demi chef de partie, a position he has held for a year.

“Hopefully this is just the start,” Sam added.

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“I’d definitely like to enter more competitions and I hope this will help me progress in my career.”

Following in the footsteps of previous winners such as Mae Dionio, Luke Selby and Ben Champkin by gaining this prestigious title, Sam will also enjoy a host of incredible prizes.

This includes:

- £3,000 from the Worshipful Company of Cooks to spend on culinary development

- an educational culinary trip of a lifetime to Norway

- a product prize of £250 and a framed presentation plate from Churchill who will also be taking the winner on a gastronomic experience with previous winners

- a magnum of the popular Champagne Collet

- membership to the Craft Guild of Chefs

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Sodiaal is also offering the young chef winner a trip to visit one of their farms in the Clermont-Ferrand region of France including a paragliding experience to discover the stunning scenery.

Young National Chef of the Year is judged by some of the industry’s biggest names including Chair of judges, Lisa Goodwin-Allen, executive chef at Northcote.

She said: “All the judges agreed that Sam really deserved this win as he created three absolutely delicious plates of food.

“It was amazing to see Sam win, I have to admit I was fighting back the emotions when it was decided.

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When you see someone that joined you as a teenager competing at such a level against other top chefs from all over the country it’s quite emotional.

“He did an amazing job.”

The runner-up spot was claimed by Nathan Johnson, junior sous chef, Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, with Jonny Smith, junior sous chef, Gravetye Manor finishing in third place.

The Young National Chef of the Year competition is supported by Churchill, HIT Training, Seafood from Norway and Sodiaal.

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