A last minute recipe change proved to be the key to success, as a catering student took the honours in a prestigious inter-college competition

The best end of lamb with offal garnish and a potato and vegetable accompaniment won high praise from lead judge, owner of Durham restaurant Oro, Marco Di Soro, who described the combination as stunning.

It was enough to secure first place just ahead of fellow Darlington College student Lewis Welburn, a Level 2 modern apprentice, of Reeth, who already works at the Michelin two-star restaurant the Raby Hunt, at Summerhouses, near Darlington.

Hannah, 18, of Catterick, is studying a Level 2 VRQ 2 Diploma in Professional Cookery and looks set to be offered an apprenticeship with the five star Rockliffe Hall Hotel, Hurworth.

She said: “I had two hours to prepare the main dish and I absolutely loved it. I was surprised and delighted to win.

“My Brownie leader first spotted my interest in cooking and I have always enjoyed baking at home. I’d love to be a head chef one day at a top hotel or Michelin star restaurant. I’m so excited about the prospect of working at Rockliffe Hall, I jumped up and down with excitement when I heard.”

Darlington College programme leader for VRQ2 in Professional Cookery Dawn Cobb-Neate said: “Hannah is very precise and methodical, we put her into the competition to challenge and stretch her and to help build her confidence.

“We hadn’t really covered lamb in lessons but she did a lot of work in her own time to refine the dish. The competition was the first time she had made the dish in its entirety and she changed the sauce the day before so she did a fantastic job.

“We are so proud of her and it just shows what can be achieved with hard work and commitment.”

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