A talented young chef from Park Regis Birmingham has secured a place in the semi-finals of this year’s Chef Stagiaire Award, a prestigious initiative for passionate UK-based chefs under 25.
24-year-old Misha Ellaway, the senior sous chef at the city centre hotel, has made it through the first phase of the competition, after creating a signature menu for the panel of expert judges; Luke Tipping, Chef Director of Simpsons in Birmingham, James Mackenzie, Head Chef and Owner of The Pipe & Glass Inn in Yorkshire, and Tim Blake, Regional Executive Chef for Restaurant Associates at Google in London.
Now, as one of 10 hand-picked semi-finalists in the nationwide contest, Misha will serve her menu at Adam’s Restaurant, one of Birmingham’s top Michelin-starred eateries.
“The Chef Stagiaire Award is very well-regarded in the industry but it’s only open to chefs under 25, so with this being my last year to give it a go I decided to enter and see what comes of it,” said Misha.
The Chef Stagiaire Award invites ambitious young chefs to submit a menu for two covers, with a written recipe, pictures and method for an amuse bouche and a main course – for which the theme this year is British lamb.
Misha’s menu comprises a hibiscus macaroon with a foie gras ganache, while her main course is lamb faggots with kohlrabi fondant, pickled radishes and fève, rhubarb, wild nettle and black garlic purée, served with red wine jus.
“When designing my menu I thought lamb faggots would be a great way to represent my West Midlands roots, as faggots originate from the Black Country,” explained Misha.
“I also paid close attention to who the judges are and their style of cooking. Luke Tipping creates a lot of Japanese-style dishes, while James Mackenzie is very into BBQ British cuisine and Tim Blake aims to bring home-style food into the workplace – and if there’s anything that makes me feel at home, it’s lamb faggots!”
After Misha has completed her placement at Adam’s, the judges will select two finalists to attend a one-week stage at the 2 Michelin-starred, 4 AA Rosette restaurant The Hand and Flowers in Marlow, where they’ll have the chance to impress Head Chef Aaron Mulliss and celebrity chef Tom Kerridge.
The winner will then be offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to spend four weeks in San Francisco at Benu, a 3 Michelin-starred Japanese restaurant or two weeks at Six Senses Zil Pason, a 6-star resort in the Seychelles.
“I’ve been in the industry for 10 years now – I started young as a kitchen porter and worked my way up whilst studying at University College Birmingham,” added Misha.
“I’ve been working at Park Regis Birmingham for six months – I started out as a junior sous and within three months I was offered the senior sous chef role which has been amazing for my career, I’ll be forever grateful for the progression opportunities within the business.
“At the end of the day I’m young and every day is a lesson for me – I just want to put my skills and knowledge out there and see what I gain.”
A spokesperson for the Chef Stagiaire Award said: “This year’s Chef Stagiaire Award received not only the highest amount of applications but also the strongest. Making it through to the top 10 is a huge achievement – each semi-finalist is one week away from potentially working at a 2 Michelin-starred kitchen and two weeks away from the chance to work in a 3 Michelin-starred kitchen for 4 weeks.”