Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Chef and le Cordon Bleu Link in Quest to Find Talent

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Chef and le Cordon Bleu Link in Quest to Find Talent

Article excerpt

Byline: Barbara Hodgson Reporter barbara.hodgson@ncjmedia.co.uk

TOP chef Kenny Atkinson teamed up with Le Cordon Bleu to play host to the semi-final stage of its gold-standard Scholarship Award.

For once the focus wasn't on the award-winner's own food but on seven rival cooks battling it out in interviews and sensory tests at his restaurant The House of Tides on Newcastle quayside.

The award seeks out the next new culinary talent from across the UK with semi-finals held outside of London for the first time.

And Newcastle proved as good a choice as anywhere for rising stars to showcase their passion for cooking.

Newcastle-born Atkinson, whose Michelin star-winning reputation has made House of Tides a draw foodies since opening its doors in January last year, joined Le Cordon Bleu interview panel for the north round which saw applicants travel up from areas such as Manchester, Yorkshire and Norwich on Wednesday.

Run by Le Cordon Bleu London, the Scholarship Award means a prize worth more than PS35,000 for the winner who has a life-changing opportunity to study in its flagship culinary institute in London.

Its academic director Loic Malfait and Le Cordon Bleu's culinary arts director Alan Swinson were looking for passion from Wednesday's candidates. Among them was Pairo Nowroozi, 29, from Manchester who said an opportunity to study at the London institute would provide the skills to work anywhere.

The chef, who has had a spell working in New York, said: "I've always known Cordon Bleu was the place to be as far as the best education is concerned."

He added: "Food should be from the heart and it's about expressing yourself. It should be saying something."

Interviewees were also set a test to identify herbs from scent alone and 23-year-old pastry chef Amber Zaman, also from Manchester, said: "I definitely know what the herbs look like but when it's just smell you begin to doubt yourself!

"Hopefully I picked the right ones. …

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