David proves he can take the heat with win in Young Chef contest

STAR Young Chef of the Year David Wiggins at home in Purbrook.    Picture: Allan Hutchings (110385-785)
STAR Young Chef of the Year David Wiggins at home in Purbrook. Picture: Allan Hutchings (110385-785)

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A SCHOOLBOY has big ambitions to become the next Gordon Ramsay after proving he is a winner in the kitchen.

David Wiggins, a 16-year-old pupil at Purbrook Park School, Waterlooville, has cooked his way to the national final of the Rotary Club Young Chef of the Year competition.

His skills in the kitchen left others trailing in his wake as he cooked up a meal that judges say was of a restaurant standard.

David, of Dayslondon Road, Purbrook, won two regional heats and will compete on Saturday in the national final in Dorset.

The Year 11 student said: ‘I’m taking catering as one of my options and my lecturer entered me into the competition.

‘I’ve been through two rounds so far and my lecturer really thinks I can win the whole thing which is brilliant.

‘I’ve been cooking all my life – I started when I was 10. I really enjoy it and my family love the food I make. It started with chilli and spaghetti Bolognese but now I’m getting more adventurous.’

In the last round he created and budgeted a healthy menu of smoked salmon with poached salmon and horseradish on potato salad, followed by sea bass on potato galette with baby leeks, asparagus topped with crab and mango salsa.

The dessert was vanilla panna cotta with poached fruits in champagne.

He said: ‘I wasn’t nervous when I was in the competition, I was really calm. I’m far more nervous when I’m practising. My ambition is to go on to South Downs College to do catering full-time then work in London, hopefully at The Square Restaurant which is Michelin-starred.

‘My idol has got to be Gordon Ramsay.

‘I love his cooking and I think he is a really good role model to chefs.’

Robert Winnicott, from Havant Rotary, was one of the judges.

He said: ‘The standard was very high indeed, something you would expect to eat in a restaurant.’

If David wins he will get £250 and be whisked off to the Filippo Berio olive grove in Tuscany to sample the delights of Italian cuisine.

He will also plus spend a day with Michelin-starred chef Phil Thompson at Auberge du Lac in Brocket Hall, Hertfordshire.