Teignmouth teen chef crowned Devon Junior Chef of the Year 2024

Aspiring young chef Tom Sinclair has won the title of Devon Junior Chef of the Year 2024.

Tom, 15, is a student at Trinity School, Teignmouth. He won the accolade in this year’s South West Chef of the Year competition which saw him competing against seven other aspiring chefs, aged between 12 and 15, in a hotly-contested final at Exeter College.

His dish of Surf ‘n Turf Ravioli with a Dill and Lime Hollandaise and a Roasted Garlic King prawn was judged to be the best of the group, meaning Tom will now go forward to compete in the final against the winners of the five other county competitions on October 5.

And he will be mentored by Scott Paton, Michelin-starred Executive Chef at Àclèaf, Boringdon Hall, Plympton, as he prepares for the competition final. The judges for the Devon final were Mark Dodson, Michelin-starred chef proprietor of The Masons Arms, Knowstone and Matthew Pickett, Hospitality Curriculum Manager, Exeter College.

The seven other Devon finalists were:

· Archie, 15, from South Molton Community College

· Freya, 15, from Honiton Community College

· Isla, 12, from Okehampton Community College

· Jasper, 12, from Glendinning Academy, Newton Abbot

· Jessica, 14, from Torquay Girls’ Grammar School

· Kadence, 15, from The King’s School, Ottery St Mary

· Kieren, 15, from Devonport High School for Boys

The South West Chef of the Year Competition, which this year is celebrating its 20 th anniversary, has categories for junior chefs, home cooks, professional, young professional and student/apprentice chefs. It invites entries from Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.

Competition co-founder, chef Michael Caines MBE DL, who is chef/patron at Lympstone Manor in Devon, said the standard of cooking in the Junior finals continued to improve year-on-year.

He said: “Tom created a delicious meal which was highly rated by the judges in what was a very competitive final. He demonstrated skilful use of local ingredients in this very impressive dish.

“Developing new talent remains one of our key drivers with this competition and it’s gratifying to see many of our previous young winners go on to have successful careers in the catering industry.”

He added: “We are committed to promoting culinary excellence, nurturing talent, and championing the vibrant food culture of the south west.”

Thanks to a partnership with Springboard FutureChef, all six county finalists have the opportunity to go through to the FutureChef regional final in January 2025, bypassing the local rounds of the competition, to compete for a place in the FutureChef national final.

And the overall winner of South West Junior Chef of the Year will be offered the much sought-after opportunity of work experience with Michelin-starred chef, David Everitt-Matthias, at his highly respected restaurant Le Champignon Sauvage in Cheltenham.

Entries are open in remaining categories:

· Professional Chef (for those of any age working as sous chef or above)

· Young Professional Chef (for those aged 19-24 and working in any position up to junior sous chef)

· Student/Apprentice Chef (aged 16-19)

· Home Cook (aged 16+)

This year’s event culminates with the finals of the Professional and Student/Apprentice Chef categories on Tuesday October 29 at Exeter College, which is followed that evening by the Awards Presentation Dinner at Exeter Golf and Country Club.

Tickets for the Awards Evening are available to purchase. The evening features a four-course meal cooked by judges and previous competition winners and offers a unique opportunity to sample high quality food cooked by the region’s best chefs, Visit the website, or email info@southwestchef.co.uk for information.

For more information, visit www.southwestchef.co.uk