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Young Belfast chef wins Claridge's experience after cooking competition

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Hannah Richardson, who works at Coppi in Belfast

Hannah Richardson, who works at Coppi in Belfast

Hannah Richardson, who works at Coppi in Belfast

A young Belfast chef has reached the final of a cooking competition which pitted challengers from across the UK against each other.

Hannah Richardson (22) won a stage, or internship, at Claridge's in London's Mayfair in the Riso Gallo Young Risotto Chef of the Year competition.

She created an Autumn Fig Roast Risotto with gorgonzola, Burren raspberry balsamic and pickled red grapes for the competition.

The chef, who is originally from Kent in England, was selected from among the other chefs at Coppi in Belfast to represent the restaurant at the competition.

She said of her dish: "“I thought about adding a Roman twist on a seasonal offering, the figs and red grapes also paired very well with the classic gorgonzola and the garum sauce is also a very ancient Roman ingredient which I feel gave the finished dish a unique umami flavour."

Ms Richardson moved to Northern Ireland for education purposes before getting a start in the restaurant industry.

"I'm from Kent and originally came over to Northern Ireland to go to university. I dropped out and started working in the restaurant industry and worked my way up," she said.

She said she's pleased with the result of the competition, which involved participating in heats around the UK and being judged by chefs including former Lanesborough executive chef Paul Gayler MBE.

"I'm going to Claridges in a couple of weeks and I'm really excited about it. I'll be able to meet a few of the really famous chefs and learn new techniques," she said.

Speaking of the competitors, Mr Gayler said: "It is undoubtedly evident we have a wealth of young talented chefs around our shores.

"I find it reassuring that our culinary heritage is in safe hands. I look forward to seeing what 2021 brings. It is very exciting."

Belfast Telegraph