Orin Perry, from Reading College, has won the fourth Young Risotto Chef of the Year competition, held by Italian Rice & Risotto experts Riso Gallo, on 21st April 2021.
Orin won an all expenses paid three day work experience at Heston Blumenthal’s renowned The Fat Duck Restaurant in Bray. When safe to do so, he will also visit the Riso Gallo rice mill in Italy to understand more about how the rice is grown and produced.
Orin, aged 18, cooked a Seafood Risotto that really impressed the judges.
“I found this recipe in my great grandma’s cooking box and my mum told me how it had changed over the years with a bit of influence from each generation”, Orin explained. “It started without seafood and used all Italian cheese. My grandma added the seafood while in America and my mum changed the cheese when she lived in Amsterdam”.
Orin commented, “It was a huge surprise to win and I am really looking forward to the opportunity of cooking in such a prestigious kitchen.” His plans for the future include one day having his own restaurant in New York.
Edward Cooke, Head Chef at The Fat Duck, said, “We’re looking forward to welcoming Orin. He will learn how we dress plates in The Fat Duck Kitchen and will be working on food preparation and in the pastry section. He will be able to reflect on this unique learning through his career.”
Paul Gayler, Chairman of the judges, said “In these difficult pandemic times we live in it was extremely heartening to see twelve young committed and talented chefs battling it out online to produce some superb cooking at yesterday’s Final”.
“Orin’s beautifully prepared seafood risotto was a sheer triumph of seafood cookery and a masterfully prepared risotto. The balance of flavours and textures were truly outstanding and the dish perfectly executed, making him a very worthy winner.”
The twelve finalists, all L2 and L3 catering students, cooked live in their respective college kitchens as part of a virtual event with the judges watching remotely. Each college also had an independent tasting judge present to watch over the cooking competition, to mark on skills, hygiene and wastage and to taste the final dishes.
The runner up Luis Balan will have a three day cooking experience with Executive Chef and Professional Masterchef finalist Danilo Cortellini at The Italian Embassy in London.
The team at Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia in Milan have also offered a 3 day stage to Jon Barr, from Ulster University, in their 2 Michelin starred restaurant working alongside Fabio Pisani and Alessandro Negrini.
In addition, as the standard of entries was so high and the final result so close, Francesco Dibenedetto , Head Chef at Bibendum in London also offered a 3 day stage at the restaurant to Lewis Douglass, from North Herts College.
Jason Morrison, MD Riso Gallo UK commented; “For over 165 years, Riso Gallo has supplied many of the top chefs across the world with Italian rice of the highest quality. We understand their passion and commitment to their craft, and the years of training they undertake. We launched this competition to help foster and reward the next generation, who can inject personality, passion and creativity into their own vibrant, exciting risotto dish. Our Young Risotto Chef competition has gone from strength to strength each year thanks to the passion and commitment of our team and supporters.”