Chef James cooks up awards gold

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A YOUNG Hawick chef proved he has the appetite to succeed after clinching gold and two merits at the Scottish Culinary Championships.

Staged at the SECC in Glasgow, 22-year-old James Dobbie took top honours in the junior innovative pasta dish with his trio of pasta: Langoustine tortellini, salmon ravioli, scallop cannelloni with sauce Americano.

And he was third in the junior duck dish, with sumptuous crispy skinned duck breast with shallot potatoes, confit duck leg tournedos, baby roast vegetables and a red wine jus.

The former high school pupil, who is currently a junior sous chef at Burts Hotel, in Melrose, also attained a merit award for his junior shellfish dish – pan seared scallops, langoustine tortellinis, carrot and cucumber spaghetti, ginger lime and chervil butter sauce – where he finished fourth in a class of eight.

He told the Hawick News: “For each of these you were given 40 minutes to prepare, cook and present two plates of food for the panel of six judges to taste.” He also won best in class for hygiene on his duck dish.

James and two of his colleagues were the only representatives from the Borders at the prestigious Scothot event. And he admitted it was a fantastic experience that has whet his appetite to achieve more.

He added: “It was amazing to win gold. I was actually cooking my duck dish when the results were announced for pasta and I heard my head chef shouting ‘yes’ and I gave a token air punch to the crowd. As for the future, I have no plans as of yet, but the only way is up.”