Riso Gallo UK & Ireland Young Risotto Chef of the Year 2023 Competition – Winner Announced
Emily Simkins, aged 19 from Hitchin, has been named as the winner of the Riso Gallo UK & Ireland Young Risotto Chef of the Year 2023.
She will receive an all expenses paid four day work experience with renowned chef Fabio Pisani and Alessandro Negrini and their team at the 2 Michelin starred Il Luogo Aimo e Nadia in Milan, and will visit the famous rice mill of Riso Gallo.
Emily wowed the judges with her Jerusalem Artichoke Risotto. Chairman of the judges, Paul Gayler, commented, “This competition goes from strength to strength each year, a great testimony to the young chef talent emerging in this country. Emily’s artichoke risotto was not only perfectly executed but also beautifully balanced, with traditional creaminess found in a great risotto, clever textures and presentation. An altogether outstanding dish”.
Emily told us; “Wow. What an experience. I have loved every second of doing the Riso Gallo Young Risotto Chef of the Year Competition.I first entered the competition in 2021 when I joined level 2. This gave me the Inspiration and drive to enter again in 2022, producing a humble, seasonal and sustainable dish – Jerusalem Artichoke Risotto with Artichoke Bark, Leeds Blue Yorkshire Pecorino, Toasted Hazelnuts and Truffle Oil. I was awarded the wild card in my heat, and luckily, I was pulled through to the final.Since then, I was in early morning at college at any opportunity – non stop practicing making sure every element on my dish was as perfect as it could be. Many thanks to all who tried it and gave me feedback on how I should improve.
Once the Final arrived I was more excited than anything! The buzz of the stadium was thrilling and to cook in the H Club kitchen was very cool. I got myself set up, and presented the best risotto I have ever made.Waiting for the results was the nerve racking moment… to discover I won?! I was in so much shock and disbelief – I was so incredibly happy. I was so lucky to make it to the final of the Young Risotto Chef Competition and to win it has been the best feeling. I’m still on cloud 9 and will be for a very long time!
Huge thank you to Anthony for the support, Jason, the Judges, Yorkshire
Pecorino and Rak Porcelain for making it happen.”
Jason Morrison, MD Riso Gallo UK, said; “We at Riso Gallo are proud to support our young British chefs, with work experience opportunities. Their kitchen abilities have been seen and tasted by those that they are going to work with. The British hospitality industry has some truly amazing talent!”.
Emily competed against twelve young chefs in the Grand Final at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on the 3rd April 2023. This year, the award was presented by Ambassador Lambertini, from the Italian Embassy in London.
The dishes were judged by professional chefs at the top of their game. The final judging panel was led by Consultant Chef Paul Gayler MBE, along with Danilo Cortellini, Consultant Chef at The Italian Embassy; Adriano Cavagnini, Executive Chef at the Bvlgari Hotel; Fabio Pisani (patron with Chef Alessandro Negrini) from Il Luogo Aimo e Nadia in Milan; Davide Degiovanni Head Chef at 5 Hertford St and Francesco Dibenedetto, Head Chef at Bibendum in London.
Fabio Pisani commented; “It’s always a pleasure for me – and for us, at Aimo e Nadia Group – to support the Riso Gallo’s UK & Ireland Young Risotto Chef of the Year. This competition is a great opportunity not only for the young chefs to grow but also for us to meet a different culture and food perspectives, share new ideas, and imagine – together – different ways to honour and celebrate the finest rice.”
In such a close competition, the judges awarded two runners up places – Lee McDonagh and Nathan Cooper – who have both won work experience at the Italian Embassy in London and also at the new Claude Bosi restaurant at the Peninsula hotel.
Riso Gallo, the first international brand in the sector to have produced rice from sustainable agriculture, is supplying Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with its range of sustainable rices for use in their catering facilities. We are thankful to Mark Reynolds, Regional Executive Chef for Compass UK and Vice Chair of the Craft Guild of Chefs, and his team for their partnership, and providing food on the day.
Tottenham Hotspur was named the Premier League’s greenest club following a study carried out by the UN-backed Sport Positive Summit, with a range of sustainable measures implemented across their operations.
Jason Morrison, MD Riso Gallo UK commented; “For over 165 years, Riso Gallo has supplied many of the top chefs across the world with Italian rice of the highest quality. We understand their passion and commitment to their craft, and the years of training they undertake. We launched this competition to help foster and reward the next generation, who can inject personality, passion and creativity into their own vibrant, exciting risotto dish. Our UK & Ireland Young Risotto Chef of the Year has grown year on year.”
It is the sixth year of the competition, aimed at young chefs aged 17-23 years, who are either in education or starting out in their professional careers.
The Riso Gallo UK & Ireland Young Risotto Chef of the Year Competition is supported by Essential Cuisine, Filippo Berio, Koppert Cress, Craft Guild of Chefs, Masterchefs GB, and Chef & Restaurant Magazine.