This is the Derry chef who has won the regional heat in a competition for a work placement in one with the world’s most prestigious hotels.
She’s Joanne McCallion, and she’s a student on the NVQ Level 3 in Professional Cookery at the North West Regional College.
She now goes through to the Northern Ireland final and a chance to go to Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in Great Milton, Oxford. It’s the only country house hotel in the UK which has achieved two Michelin Stars for 28 years, and it’s owned by renowned chef Raymond Blanc.
Two students from the six FE colleges in Northern Ireland will get to work there.
Joanne just edged ahead of her fellow competitors in the regional heat. The judges, Brian McDermott, the Community Chef, and Walter Tsang, Head Chef and owner of Yoko Noodle Restaurant in Coleraine, were impressed by Joanne’s complex and ambitious three course menu.
In just two and half hours Joanne produced a starter, Trio of Seafood, followed by a tantalising main of Smoked Fillet of Beef accompanied by wilted spinach, wild mushroom and sweet potato cannelloni and a pancetta jus.
For her dessert course Joanne added a touch of magic serving her Chocolate Panna Cotta, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Brandy Snap and Cherry sorbet with a Pistachio Cream and Cherry Milkshake, on a bed of dry ice.
The spectacular presentation of her dishes matched the exquisite flavours created by the 22 year old. The Northern Ireland-wide final which will be held in the NW College in May this year.