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Wing Yip Oriental Cookery Young Chef of the Year Final, UCB.

Amelia Ng from Manor House Hotel has won the coveted title of Wing Yip Young Chef of the Year 2019.

Amelia judgesAmelia beat 14 finalists who battled it out at University College Birmingham (UCB) on Thursday 4 April.

Now in its seventh year, the competition was established in 2012 by Wing Yip to encourage and inspire young chefs across the UK to experiment with Oriental ingredients and flavours. The competition is open to young chefs between the age of 18 – 25 working in the hospitality industry or studying at college.

Stage one of the competition was a paper round where finalists were required to submit two Oriental dishes – a street food starter and a main course presented in a bowl. This year saw a record number of entries which were whittled down to 15 finalists who were invited to take part in the final. The finalists were required to cook their dishes which were judged on authenticity, culinary and professional techniques, quality and balance of flavours, working methods, creativity and presentation.

Putting Amelia and the other finalists through their paces was an elite panel of judges, including President of the British Culinary Federation, Peter Griffiths MBE, Michelin starred chef, Glynn Purnell and restaurateur, Larkin Cen.

Amelia has not only been awarded with the 2019 title, but also a £750 cash prize and a stage with Larkin Cen at his Bristol restaurant, Woky Ko.

Amelia said: “I am thrilled to have won Wing Yip Young Chef of the Year 2019, especially given the standard of the other finalists.

“I heard about this competition from my mentor Ed Marsh and have been working very hard preparing over the last couple of months. I was pleased to have made the final but to win the title is just incredible.

“The competition presented lots of challenges, but I’m so pleased that all my hard work paid off. The judges were brilliant and offered some excellent advice along the way. It’s an experience I won’t forget and one that I’ll take with me throughout my career.”
Amelia wowed the judges with her starter dish of Black Sesame Bao Bun with Crispy Challons Duck and Spiced Plum and a main of Huntsham Farm Pork and Prawn Wontons served with egg noodles, lotus root, pak choi, Chinese leaf, pork and shitake broth.

Close runners up in this year’s competition were Sophie Botting from House of Commons securing second place, and Ryan Hyslop from South and City College Bournville who came third. Sophie’s starter – curried fish balls with savoury bubble waffle and a main of marinated pork belly served with rice vermicelli noodles, fennel puree, pickled onions with soy and sesame broth impressed the judges taking second place and receiving a £300 cash prize. Closely succeeding was Ryan and his starter dish of Thai Corn Cakes and main of Pork Stepping Stones, fillet of pork served with sea-urchin, black rice, aromatic tea broth and edible flowers – Ryan took home a £150 cash prize as well as the third-place title.

Peter Griffiths said: “This year was incredibly tough for the contestants but the judges and I were very impressed with the high standards we saw throughout the final.

“Given the increasing popularity in street food, we incorporated a specific street food inspired course this year and each student exceeded our expectations with their dishes.

“Amelia demonstrated excellent working methods and good depth of Oriental flavours and clearly put in a lot of hard work and practise in the run up to the competition. We were particularly impressed with the fact that Amelia made her black bao buns and her noodles completely from scratch. The overall dishes conveyed complete authenticity with a balance of flavours throughout.”

Wing Yip Director, Ennevor Yap, who oversaw the competition, added: “The Young Chef competition is something which is very close to our hearts.

“We’re extremely passionate about championing aspiring young chefs from all over the country and the competition offers an amazing platform for anyone who is passionate about cooking, whether that’s oriental or any other type of cuisine.

Finalists included:
• Sophie Botting, House of Commons
• Ryan Hyslop, South and City College (Bournville Campus)
• Darnell Barrett, University College Birmingham
• Chloe Lloyd-Hughes, North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College
• Mukhtar Hassan, JLR Solihull (Compass Group UK)
• Kit De’ath, De Montford University (Compass)
• Amelia Ng, Manor House Hotel, Wiltshire
• Chad Moon, The ICC Birmingham (Amadeus)
• Ben Webster, The Belfry Hotel and Resort, West Midlands
• Phoenix De-Giorgi, Saunton Sands Hotel, Devon
• Ryan Howarth, North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College
• Russell Letts, OPUS Restaurant, Birmingham
• Konstantinos Spyrou, University College Birmingham
• Sara Lang-Harding, Dine Contract Catering, Warrington
• Shanay Thomas, Bedfordshire College Kingsway Campus

 Black Sesame Bao Bun Huntsham Farm Pork and Prawn Wontons