Suffolk's hottest young chef

IPSWICH'S Scott Sampson is the hottest young cook in Suffolk. The Stoke High School pupil is today on his way to compete in the finals of National Juniorchef 2007.

By Tracey Sparling

IPSWICH'S Scott Sampson is the hottest young cook in Suffolk. The Stoke High School pupil is today on his way to compete in the finals of National Juniorchef 2007. Features editor TRACEY SPARLING caught up with his last-minute training.

A WIDE smile lights up Scott Sampson's face as he talks about food.

There's none of the stereotypical monosyllabic teenager about this 15-year-old, when you get him onto what has become his favourite subject. Food is his passion - as well as football of course.

“My Grandma used to give me recipes to make, especially cakes, and I enjoyed trying them so I've loved cooking since I was 11 or 12,” said Scott who is a budding star of Suffolk's College' Junior Food Academy.

“I like desserts and cakes best. I think my style is modern but traditional. It's traditional dishes but they are presented in a modern way.”

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As he speaks, he cracks an egg to make his favourite dessert of baked apple cake - which he hopes will continue to beat off stiff competition in the food world.

On Saturday he won the county round of National Juniorchef by cooking up a storm with his favourite menu - a stuffed roast chicken with wild mushroom risotto, purple sprouting broccoli and a confit of shallots, with a thyme jus. This was followed by baked apple cake with rhubarb compote and vanilla ice cream.

He's sticking to those winning recipes for this week's competition final, to be held in Calais and sponsored by P&O. He'll be up against 74 other young chefs, who will all be given chef's whites and knives to compete in a professional way.

Scott from Bramblewood, pinewood, his parents and tutor Greg Cheeseman, go to Kent tomorrow for the first day of the event, and sail to compete in France for the cookery stage on Friday.

Scott said: “I do get nervous, but on Saturday I had my own section so I was in 'my zone' so I just had myself and was able to concentrate on getting on with everything.”

His efforts will be judged by Gary Rhodes.

Scott said: “I used to like Delia Smith and always liked Gary Rhodes, so it will be great to see him and perhaps meet him. I will be very nervous when he tastes my food but luckily he takes the plate away and doesn't eat it in front of us!

“The only chef I don't like so much is Gordon Ramsey because he swears too much.”

Part of Scott's prize for winning on Saturday, is a half-day's work experience in the kitchens at The Ritz Hotel in London.

After watching the recent Masterchef series presented by John Torode and Gregg Wallace on BBC2, Scott can't wait to experience a hectic professional kitchen - as he wants to work in a top restaurant one day.

He said: “I liked seeing the Masterchef contestants doing their challenges in proper restaurants.

It looks like quite a lot of pressure but it's good experience.

“It will be exciting to see the standards that the Ritz set especially on desserts, because it is world famous - and seeing what I have to measure up to.”

Meanwhile he is attending the academy twice a week after school, to practice the skills he learned on its 12-week course. That's alongside juggling his GCSE homework and football too.

He said: “I like to help my mum out with the Sunday roast but usually she's done everything already!

“In the holidays I ask my mum if I can go shopping for ingredients to cook.

Greg, chef instructor at Suffolk College, said: “He's a great chef and I also think his personality shines through when it comes to competitions - he's a cheeky chappie.

“He also learns very well. If I tell him something he will absorb everything I say, rather than say 'yeah, yeah okay' and think he knows better. I never have to tell him twice, which is quite a rarity with teenagers!”

He added: “Saturday's win is a huge boost for his confidence and whatever happens this week he's done pretty well to get this far. At the end of the day it's all positive and good for the industry.

“It gives me a great sense of personal achievement to coach young people and foster their enthusiasm for food.”

Scott's enthusiasm is deep-seated, and he is full of plans for the future. He said: “I wouldn't mind working in a top London hotel in future, but sometimes I think it would be nice to be at a place which is famous locally for good food.”

He has already been approached by Suffolk restauranteurs Milsoms about starting an apprenticeship when he leaves school, so watch this space.


See The Evening Star soon, for news of how he gets on in France.


The popular courses for 14-16 year olds at the Junior Chef Academy, are supported by the Compass Group. For more information call Greg on 01473 296544 or email

Baked apple cake with rhubarb compote and vanilla ice cream>


30g ground almonds

270g flour

140g unsalted butter

100g icing sugar

1 egg

5ml vanilla essence

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla, add egg and fold in flour

Apple filling:

Five russet apples

300ml double cream

30g sugar

1 egg yolk

20g flour

Lightly cook apples, add cream and sugar.

Once cooked, finish with egg yolk and flour remembering to taste.

Rhubarb compote:

250g rhubarb

120g sugar

Cook rhubarb down with sugar, leave to cool.

Vanilla ice cream:

7 egg yolks

200g caster sugar

500ml milk

250ml cream

1 vanilla pod

Whisk eggs and sugar until light and white.

Boil milk and cream with vanilla pod.

Add boiling milk and cream over egg mix to cook out the eggs

Return to heat, to warm slightly

Remove from heat and chill.

Freeze mixture.

Born: April 1960

Food style: Modern twist on the traditional.

Early years: Went to catering college at Broadstairs in Kent. Three years later he was student of the year and started work at the Hilton Hotel in Amsterdam. Not long after he was hit by a tram and underwent brain surgery. He made a complete recovery, proposed to his girlfriend and returned to England to work at the Capital Hotel.

Tv break: His first TV appearance was presenting a live ten-minute slot in 1987, and has since presented several TV series including Gary Rhodes' Cookery Year, Rhodes around Britain, Roald Dahl's Revolting Recipes and Gary Rhodes At the Table. He has also hosted MasterChef. Gary can now be seen on ITV1 's Saturday Cooks .

Achievements: Received his first Michelin star at the Castle Hotel in Somerset, and another at The Greenhouse in Mayfair. He owns Rhodes 24 in London, the Rhodes Restaurant in Grenada, and Arcadian Rhodes, located on the P&O superliner Arcadia.

Routine: Day usually begins at 4.30am when he drives to his restaurant in London and usually arrives at 7am; he's rarely home before 11pm.

Hobbies: As well as being a lover of food, Gary is a keen supporter of Manchester United and has a passion for cars, with his greatest ambition being to drive a Formula One car


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