An aspiring chef from Mapperley got the opportunity to pick up culinary skills from one of the UK’s rising stars at an event in Nottingham earlier this month.
Amy Challoner was given the chance to work alongside MasterChef: The Professionals finalist Louisa Ellis during a restaurant takeover event held at Nottingham College’s commercial training restaurant in the Lace Market.
For the restaurant takeover students from Nottingham College helped to prep, cook, plate and serve an impressive five-course gourmet tasting menu which Louisa created especially for the event. The modern menu included: crayfish bisque with chervil and apple and a dry aged sirloin with artichoke and aniseed sauce.
Amy helped supervise the other trainees as part of the takeover, and has also been lucky enough to work alongside Louisa in her spare time whilst studying the Level 3 Professional Chefs Diploma at Nottingham College.
Amy said: “I first had the opportunity to meet Louisa last year at College when she did another Adams Restaurant takeover with other finalists from MasterChef: The Professionals, then in October I volunteered to help her with a pop-up event she was running in Hockley, at Cotton Mouth. From there I helped her with some private dinner parties, and I’ve continued to do this ever since.
“Louisa is so amazing to work with and I’m really grateful for the experience she has given me. I’ve learnt so much from her as a person and from the way she thinks about different ingredients and her style of cooking.
“Going into people’s homes and cooking in their kitchen, right in front of them, can be daunting, and to be honest I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy it, but it’s so nice to interact with the client, and even though it can be a lot of pressure, I really enjoy it and it’s helped so much with my confidence.”
Louisa thinks Amy has a bright future ahead of her in the kitchen.
She said: “Amy is a dedicated student who I took a liking to straight away. She reminds me of myself when I was her age – passionate, ambitious and hard working. She often helps me at events and is a great chef to work with. She’s a quick learner and has a good sense of judgment when under pressure in the kitchen. I predict great things for her in the future.”
24-year-old Louisa has been working professionally as a chef for the past eight years, working in Michelin star kitchens, including Birmingham’s Adams Restaurant and more recently Nottingham’s Restaurant Sat Bains. Louisa is now based in Nottingham and is busy following her dream of becoming a Private Chef – offering dining experiences in clients’ homes.
She said: “I really enjoy working with the students and passing on my skills – this is our next generation of chefs and I feel it is important to give them as many opportunities and restaurant experiences as possible.”