Accountant with a passion for food tastes success in prestigious chef of the year awards

November 22, 2013

By day Bristol-based accountant Steve Ashworth dishes out advice to firms on employment tax. But in his spare time he swaps his suit for an apron and his laptop for a ladle as a budding chef.

Now his culinary hard work has paid off and he has scooped first prize in the Best Dish category of the prestigious South West Chef of the Year competition.

Steve, an associate director in Smith & Williamson’s Bristol-based employment tax and incentives team, secured the title with his chicken and potato pie with kale, braised carrots and beetroot cooked two ways, made from locally-sourced ingredients.

The contest, now in its 10th year, is staged by Taste of the West and attracts hundreds of professional chefs and amateur cooks. Judging was by two Michelin star chef Michael Caines MBE. The competition .

Steve, who advises and supports employers on setting up and running their employee benefits and remuneration packages, said: “This was my first cookery competition and I was delighted to win, having bowed to pressure from family and friends to enter. I have always loved food and cooking so being able to prepare and present a dish to two Michelin star chef Michael Caines was an amazing opportunity.

“My dish was a variation on a family favourite – meat and potato pie. I had to come up with something within 90 minutes which would showcase the fantastic range of ingredients available locally, right down to the sea salt which came from Cornwall. My aim was to get four plates of food out to the judges without any mistakes. To have the plates sent back clean was very encouraging!”

Julie Harvey of Presteign Marketing, which organises the annual event, said: “With growing interest in cooking at home, thanks in part to the popularity of television cookery shows and the range of farmers’ markets and food festivals held across the South West, the Best Dish class for home cooks has really caught on.

“The standard this year was exceptionally high and competition strong so Steve did extremely well to win first prize. The judges said they were particularly pleased to see the finalists’ commitment to quality and locally sourced produce.”

Steve’s prizes included a weekend cookery class at Ashburton Cookery School, sponsors of the Best Dish category.


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