East Coast Chef Ross Hallewell has won the train company’s second annual Chef of the Year competition.

The winning chef’s main course was the mouth-watering fillet of seabass with sweet and sour stir-fried vegetables and buttered new potatoes – and for dessert, chocolate torte topped with a rich chocolate ganache, served with fresh strawberries.

The winning dishes will be introduced to East Coast’s on-board First Class menus early next year. Chefs from right along the East Coast Main Line took part in the prestigious competition at Manor Church of England Academy in York.

31-year-old winning chef, Ross Hallewell, from Leeds, said:
“I’m absolutely stunned. I had so much support from friends and colleagues in Leeds and never expected to win. It’s an incredible feeling to think that thousands of customers will be able to sample my dishes. The competition has been really tough but I’m just so pleased to win it.”

Ross joined East Coast less than a year ago and was presented with a designed jacket, embroidered with his newly-won Chef of the Year title.

The chefs had less than two hours to produce their two-course meals. Students from Manor Church of England Academy joined East Coast’s Commercial and Customer Service Director Peter Williams and Rail Gourmet Product Manager David Small to judge the dishes.

Last year’s winning chef, Annmarie Beattie from Newcastle was also a finalist this year alongside London King’s Cross Chef Ed Oppong and Edinburgh-based Chef Ian Fairly.

Pupils from Manor Church of England Academy helped judge the competition. Principal Brian Crosby said
“Manor Church of England Academy was absolutely delighted to welcome the East Coast Chef of the Year competition in to our school. It was thrilling for the students and staff to see real chefs in action and to be able to so freely mingle with the chefs while they prepared the food and to taste the end products.

“The experience demonstrates true vocational education in practice, and I am sure many of the young people will think seriously about employment in the food industry and maybe even for East Coast.”