Why did you enter the awards?
We entered because we wanted the opportunity to showcase some fantastic ingredients from local artisan producers – that is what sets us apart. We get great reviews and customer feedback about our food and thought it would be a great opportunity to benchmark ourselves against other great food businesses.
At the Brigands Inn in Snowdonia, we want to produce locally-inspired dishes with the best local ingredients, made by local people to serve the local community. We feel that if we do this well, then other customers will want to come and share the experience.
Tell us about your winning dish. How did you come up with it?
I love cooked breakfast, but am conscious of the high fat and calories in a traditional British fry-up. I wanted to produce a breakfast that has all the flavour, but is lower in fat and calories, and I also wanted to show off our skills and those of our local suppliers, I have been making my own dry-cure bacon for a while, which is half the salt and half the fat compared with bought in. Similarly, the cider rarebit sauce is half the fat of hollandaise. The use of sourdough toast is lower in fat and free sugars, and the avocado replaces butter.
When we put these ingredients together with, in my opinion, the best black pudding that I have ever tasted – from Rob Rattery’s butcher’s in Aberystwyth – locally produced organic light Sussex hens eggs and chorizo, we thought that it would look great, taste great and be healthier. We were pleased with the flavour, appearance, and most of all that the fat and calories were half that of a traditional breakfast.
How do you stay calm when competing under pressure?
This is the first time I have entered anything like this, and I was a little nervous beforehand. However, when I started cooking the time flew past.
Did you expect to win? What did you think of the standard?
I thought that the standard achieved by the other entrants was very high, and that the creativity was amazing. It was great to meet and share ideas with other people who were all at the top of their game.
Did you enjoy the event?
It was a pleasure to compete in this environment and I was happy that I had done my best. I never thought that I had a chance of winning, as the other dishes looked so great and creative.
How did it feel when your name was read out?
When I heard my name it was like winning the FA Cup as I have never even won a raffle before!