Alex Hagen of the Defence Academy at Shrivenham, has been named the 2009 Junior Compass Chef of the Year, after being mentored and supported by last year’s winner, James Baker.
In his second year competing for the title, Hagen impressed the team of judges, led by Compass and Craft Guild of Chefs chairman Nick Vadis with the ‘flavours and consistency’ of his dishes, securing the title over seven fellow competitors.
Despite finishing fourth last year, Hagen said taking first place in the competition, held at The Restaurant Show, was a surprise, even with the support and coaching of Baker.
“I didn’t expect to win,” he said. “James trained me through the competition and gave me all his knowledge, and despite my heart pounding throughout today, I did the best I could.”
Vadis, who will later on today judge the final of the Senior Compass Chef of the Year, said the standard of entry was impeccable.
“It surpasses itself every year,” he said. “The junior chefs competing today have jumped through a lot of hoops to get here, and they’ve all produced an excellent standard of food. Alex’s flavours and the way he conducted himself in particular are what made him stand out, and because he’d done this competition before, he understood the process.”
Stay tuned to BigHospitality.co.uk to discover the results of the Senior Compass Chef of the Year later today.