The event, organised by destination management organisation Visit Chester & Cheshire, has received endless praise in its bid to discover the hidden culinary talent of Cheshire as well as continued acclaim for the exceptional standard of food produced.
Visit Chester & Cheshire’s Pam Billington commented: “The Talented Young Chef evenings are an excellent way to expose the talent of young chefs from across Cheshire and provide an outlet for them to explore their drive and passion for food. Dave certainly rose to the occasion.”
La Cantina is a family run Italian restaurant which marries Italian traditional food with Chester’s cosmopolitan atmosphere. Recently opened in November 2009, the restaurant leapt to the opportunity to showcase its unique offering in Visit Chester & Cheshire’s accredited series of ‘Talented Young Chef Evenings’.
The latest young chef to shine was 24 year old Dave Hogan, who has previously worked at Pitcher and Piano, who began his culinary career just six months ago. Dave, who is currently Deputy Manager of La Cantina, tackled a two night challenge of running the kitchen and designing a menu to accommodate a fully booked restaurant of hungry diners.
Dave Hogan said: “I had never worked in a kitchen up until six months ago but I found an interest in Italian food and have really enjoyed learning new skills working alongside the owner Mark Evans. The Visit Chester & Cheshire’s ‘Talented Young Chef Evening’ provided a fantastic opportunity for me to see if I had the potential to run a kitchen and it was great to get such a positive response from clients.”
The team devised a traditional Italian menu using local Cheshire produce to represent the families Cheshire and Italian heritage. The gourmet Venetian feast included Trota in Blu (locally sourced Trout in a white wine, herb and lemon sauce), Risotto di Asparagi e Scampi (risotto with poached Cheshire asparagus and fresh fish) and Selezione di Carne di Cheshire (a selection of local meats served in traditional Venetian style).
All dishes were accompanied by complementary Italian wines from the restaurant and the evening was completed with a complimentary course of Joseph Heler’s award winning cheeses and coffee courtesy of illy coffee.
The young host for the evening was Assistant Deputy Manager Francesca Evans, daughter of owner Liz and her part Italian husband Mark, who was presented with a magnum of Prosecco by Gerrard Seel wines to congratulate her for her efforts.
Francesca, who is also the girlfriend of Chef Dave Hogan, commented: “It was my first time hosting the restaurant on my own and I really wanted it to be perfect for myself and Dave. It was lovely to have my boyfriend managing the kitchen while I took over front of house and I would like to thank Visit Chester and Cheshire for giving us this opportunity to showcase our talents. Our restaurant is all about offering a family experience so these evenings were the perfect opportunity for us to shine.”
Visit Chester & Cheshire’s Pam Billington adds: “The ‘Talented Young Chef Evenings’ have continued to grow in success – not only among the restaurants themselves but the diners who have the opportunity to sample an array of dishes from restaurants across Cheshire. We also receive excellent support from sponsors without which these evenings wouldn’t be possible.”
Dave will receive a commemorative plate courtesy of Villeroy & Boch and a Chef’s jacket from Tibard to congratulate him for his efforts.
The next ‘Talented Young Chef Evening’ will be held at The Windmill Inn, Adlington near Macclesfield on 29th June. To make a booking please contact The Windmill Inn direct on 01625 574222.
Below: Visit Chester & Cheshire's Pam Billington presenting awards to the Young Talented Chef Dave Hogan and Young Talented Hostess Francesca Evans
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