Chef Andrew Williams, from Salt House Bacaro in Liverpool, has won the Riso Gallo Young Risotto Chef of the Year competition, which is targeted at budding chefs aged 18 -25.
Andrew, aged 20, impressed the judges by cooking Caramelised Onion and Red Wine Risotto, with butter-roasted pine nuts, crispy onions, radicchio and taleggio. The risotto was finished with Valrhona chocolate, white alba truffle and chive oil.
He will be given three days work experience at Angela Hartnett’s Michelin-starred modern Italian restaurant, Murano, in Mayfair, London.
Andrew (pictured with Jason Morrison, MD, Riso Gallo UK) said, “It was great fun to take part in this competition, and I have learnt so much. It is great to get feedback on my dish from such prestigious judges and I am really looking forward to my prize of cooking at Murano. It will be an honour and an amazing experience.”
Judge and Chef, Paul Gayler added, “Andrew’s risotto was a culinary triumph of precise balanced flavours and delicacy, while retaining the creamy al dente texture of the finished risotto we judges were looking for. He is a calm and focused young chef who has a great future in front of him.”
“This is our second young risotto chef competition and it goes from strength to strength. Entries were also up in numbers which is an encouraging sign for the future. On the day our 10 candidates really stepped up to the plate and delivered what for us was a difficult time in the judging room.”
Salt House Bacaro is an Italian small plate restaurant and campari bar, and is part of the Red and Blue restaurant group, which also includes Salt House Tapas, Hanover Street Social, and the newly formed Rocket and Ruby.
Williams joined Bacaro four years ago as a kitchen porter, within a year was working on preparation, and the following year was working on section. He have been learning and growing as a chef ever since.
Matt Walsh, executive head chef of Red and Blue Restaurants, commented, We are immensely proud of Andrew and the hard work he has put into this dish. He has beaten off stiff competition from some of the top restaurants in the UK and received excellent feedback from the judges. This award is testament to the training and the dishes we are producing in Bacaro and will put us on the culinary map.’
Paddy Smith, owner of Red and Blue Restaurants, added, “I am delighted that our excellence in training and our quality of fresh produce from our chef teams has been recognised by some of the top people in the industry. We are looking forward to featuring Andrew’s winning dish on the menu in Bacaro for our guests to enjoy soon.”