Matthew Hurry, a 26-year-old sous chef at Hotel Café Royal's Laurent restaurant in London, has been named M Restaurants' Young Chef of the Year 2019.
Hurry beat off competition from 16 other finalists. He was crowned winner of the competition at a winner's dinner this evening (4 September) where the highest-scoring final four (also including Jordan Kerridge, head chef at the Stafford hotel; Luke Bryan, head chef at Kricket; and Jamie Warley, head pastry chef at St Ermin's hotel, all in London) served one dish from each of their menus.
Hurry's menu featured a chilled courgette velouté with a peppermint emulsion, poached lobster with lobster bisque and a pineapple and spiced rum upside-down cake.
His prize includes a trip with sponsors Pommery to the Champagne region of France to explore their vineyards as well as mentoring from Mike Reid, culinary director of Martin Williams's M Restaurant group.
Open to UK chefs aged between 18 and 29, the competition, where finalists serve a four-course menu of their own devising at a pop up night at M Victoria, was created by Reid. It aims to celebrate young talent and bolster morale in the hospitality sector.
Diners voting for their favourite young chef formed half of the final scores while judges' feedback formed the remaining 50%, with the quality of cooking, marketing abilities, sustainable sourcing of ingredients and handling of food waste all taken in to consideration.
Judges included Williams and Reid; chefs Sabrina Gidda, Steve Groves, Ben Tish, Alyn Williams and James Knappett; social media influencer Felicity Spector; journalist David Ellis and The Caterer's editor Chris Gamm.
Hurry said: "This is my first competition. I just wanted to challenge myself and it looked like good fun. It's not like a typical competition, it was something a bit different, I had to come up with my own menu and not just use ingredients put in front of me and I could showcase myself.
"It's been fun coming up with the menu and recipes and finding suppliers for things like peppermint. The pop-up was tough. I did 72 covers which was one of the busiest nights. It's a great experience for everyone to get involved in."
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