From education to employment

London student wins training with top Peruvian chefs in Lima

A London-based student has taken first place in the Young Chef of the Year Peru competition to create a Peruvian inspired menu.

20 year-old Farah Smith, a student at Westminster Kingsway College, won the nationwide competition which aims to provide young chefs with a deeper understanding of Peruvian ingredients and recipes, and follows a campaign to promote Peruvian avocados and quinoa in the UK

Farah will fly out to Lima, Peru for a week to train alongside Virgilio Martinez and his team at award-winning restaurant, Central. The restaurant is fourth on the San Pelligrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

The young chef competed against six other UK finalists, who were under the age of 25 and either studying or working in the food industry. Each entrant submitted their own Peruvian menu, which incorporated quinoa, avocado and cocoa and other typical ingredients from Peru.

Peruvian DinnerFarah excited judges with her Peruvian menu of:

  • Scallop & Langoustine Tiradito, Nikkei Leche, Aji Amarillo, Coriander Cancha
  • Lamb, Cocoa, Caramelised Sweet Potatoes & Charred Purple Potato Cream
  • Chocolate Praline, Quinoa Hazelnut Ice Cream & Kiwicha Crunch

Runners up were awarded a placement with Peruvian chef, cookbook author, and restauranteur Martin Morales, founder of Andina and Ceviche restaurants in London.

Jaime Cardenas, director of the Peru Trade & Investment Office who ran the competition, said: “The competition provided young chefs with the opportunity to become well-acquainted with Peruvian food, and the reliability of supply and quality of Peruvian ingredients. Our ultimate aim was to discover a young ambassador for Peruvian food, who has gained a real understanding of the term ‘Superfoods from Peru’ and whose enthusiasm and ability will inspire others.”    

The judging panel included Martin Morales; chef lecturer and author, Jose Souto; head chef at Lima restaurants in London, Robert Ortiz; food author and columnist, Lindsey Bareham; associate editor at The Caterer magazine, Neil Gerrard and director of Sumaq Superfoods, Christan Nelson. The Peruvian Ambassador in the UK, Claudio de la Puente, attended the competition cook-off and presented the awards to the winners

Flights have been kindly provided by British Airways and accommodation by Sumaq Super Foods.

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