Topsham’s Salutation Inn chefs set their sights on next step

PUBLISHED: 16:30 16 November 2015

James Mason preparing his dish in the South West Young Professional Chef of the year category.

James Mason preparing his dish in the South West Young Professional Chef of the year category.

Archant

A pair of award-winning chefs from the Salutation Inn in Topsham are now planning to take the national finals and semi-professional cooking competitions by storm.

Jack Sharland cooking in the South West Student  Chef of the year competitionJack Sharland cooking in the South West Student Chef of the year competition

James Mason and Jack Sharland, both from Exmouth, triumphed in the South West Chef of the Year 2015 competition.

The pair were presented with the South West Young Professional Chef of the Year and South West Student Chef of the Year awards respectively.

Both revealed that being presented with their awards at Exeter Golf and Country Club was an emotional occasion for them and their families.

James, 24, sous chef at the Salutation Inn, said: “I think our awards show that the Salutation Inn is the best restaurant in Topsham.

“Being announced the winner of my category on the night was amazing. We were all buzzing. My mum even had a tear in her eye.

“I found the semi-finals harder than the final – if I do another competition I need to work on my pastry as I feel it let me down on the day.

“I have no idea what I’m doing next year. I am now in the national finals, but I am waiting for more details about the next competition. I might do a few food shows around the South West.”

Jack, 18, who studies level three catering at Exeter College, revealed he was over the moon to win his category.

The youngster began dreaming of becoming a chef while studying at Exmouth Community College five years ago.

Jack said he now wants to keep his head down and keep improving his skills and technical cooking knowledge.

The commis chef, at the Salutation Inn, added: “The fact the final was at the college and I won was an amazing experience. My mum and dad are really proud of me.

“I could have improved my presentation of the food and put more technical skill into my main course.

“My lecturers are all really pleased - I just applied what they taught me in the classroom to real life.

“We are all just working so hard for the owner, Tom Williams-Hawkes and trying to improve the reputation of the Salutation Inn.

“I’m just going to keep my head down and focus on improving my skills and technical knowledge. I might do a semi-professional competition next year or leave it for a few years.”

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