CHEFS from around the Highlands and Islands are being served up a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with a competition to find the region's best young cook.
Entries are now open for Young Highland Chef 2013. The winner will receive £500 plus a week's work experience at the Roux family's two-Michelin-starred restaurant Le Gavroche in London.
The annual competition is organised by North Highland College UHI's Burghfield training hotel and the Albert Roux Consultancy. Entrants aged between 18 and 30 are invited to submit a three-course dinner menu for two with scallops in the starter, lamb in the main course and pear in the sweet, with a budget of £15 per cover.
The submitted menus will be judged on paper before eight successful applicants are selected to attend the final at Burghfield House in Dornoch on Monday October 28th.
Celebrated chef Albert Roux OBE will lead the panel with support from some of Britain's best-known culinary professionals. He will be joined by Andrew Fairlie of Gleneagles Hotel, Craig Rowland of Skibo Castle, Brian Maule of Chardon d'Or in Glasgow, Steven Docherty of The First Floor Café in Windermere, Glen Watson of The Belfry in Sutton Coldfield and Derek Johnstone from Chez Roux at the Greywalls Hotel in East Lothian.
As well as the top prize of £500 plus work experience at Le Gavroche, Young Highland Chef is offering £250 and a week's work experience at the RAC Club in London for second place and £100 for third. The prizes will be presented by Albert Roux at a special champagne reception and all finalists will receive a trophy and certificate.
Mr Roux said: "Another Young Highland Chef competition is upon us. It is always gratifying to come to the Highlands and judge the young talent who will cook for us at the Burghfield Hotel.
"Our line-up of judges this year is again second to none and I know I speak for all of them in saying we are there not only to judge, but to encourage the young talent that is waiting to be discovered!
"Seasonal, local, well-cooked dishes – these are the main criteria we are looking for and that we are looking forward to tasting in the final in October."
Burghfield House is run as a training hotel by North Highland College UHI, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands. It offers a range of courses in hospitality and cookery, including a tourism and hospitality honours degree. Students can also gain Scottish vocational and higher national qualifications.
Russell Rekhy, the Burghfield campus manager, said: "We are delighted to be involved in this year's competition. It will give us the opportunity to showcase some of the excellent talent in our region as well as our training hotel which is serving one of the region's key industries. We hope the chance to work at Le Gavroche will be an irresistible draw for our region's young chefs."
Young Highland Chef 2013 is held in association with Caterer and Hotelkeeper magazine and sponsored by the North Highland Initiative. The closing date for entries is Sunday 15 September. To find out more visit www.burghfieldhouse.co.uk