Simpsons rookie Frances Attwood has landed the title of the British Culinary Federation’s Young Chef of the Year 2016.
Frances, 21, who joined Simpsons just over a year ago from an apprenticeship at Aston Villa, is demi chef de partie at the restaurant in Edgbaston.
She competed against 15 young chefs from some of the UK’s best restaurants.
As well as winning the top spot in the final, Frances also collected a prize for the best main course.
The competition took place at University College Birmingham.
Above: Matt Davies, chairman of the BCF, Frances Attwood and Anthea Bache, presenting the trophy on behalf of her late husband.
Competitors had two hours to produce a three-course meal for two.
She said: “I was 100% focused on the task at hand and happy that I’d cooked as well as I could on the day.
“That said, I still had my doubts.
“When the main course prize was called out, I thought I might be in with a chance but even when my name was called for first place I could barely believe it.”
Frances’ winning menu
Hispi Cabbage, Avruga Caviar, Shellfish Sauce
Salsify, Apple, Hazelnut, Sherry Vinegar
Caramelised White Chocolate, Blackberry and Gingerbread
Luke Tipping, chef director of Simpsons said: “It was Frances’ first time in a competition environment and she did herself proud.
“We always encourage our young talent to take part in competitions as it’s a great confidence builder and allows them to flourish outside of the restaurant.
“As the final grew closer and I could see all the effort she was putting into perfecting each dish, I felt confident that she would do well and she certainly didn’t disappoint.”
Connor Blades from The Frog restaurant in London was runner up and Andreas Doukanaras from Simpson’s sister restaurant, The Cross in Kenilworth secured third place.
Among the other finalists was Matthew Nicholls of Cheal’s of Henley.
Frances wins a David Bache Trophy, cheque for £250, invitation to winners’ lunch with Villeroy & Boch, winner’s commemorative plate and framed certificate.