THE pastry chef at a Michelin starred Cumbrian restaurant has been named as one of the best young talents in the country.
Paige Hill, of Pentonbridge Inn, near Carlisle, was recognised by the prestigious Craft Guild of Chefs at its annual Graduate Awards during a VIP awards evening held at Fortnum & Mason in London.
Paige, 23, was one of only five pastry chefs from across the UK to achieve a Graduate Award, which are presented following a rigorous testing process including a series of skills tests, paper exams and challenges.
Paige said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have received a Graduate Award. I always want to push myself to see what I can achieve when I’m put to the test and to be recognised at this level is incredible. It’s been a fantastic experience and I’ll use everything I’ve learnt from it to improve my skills and knowledge in the kitchen.”
The Craft Guild of Chefs’ Graduate Awards offers chefs under the age of 25 the opportunity to test their skills, connect with peers and raise their profile. Applicants must compete in regional and national finals, with only the very best rewarded with a Graduate Award. The awards recognise both pastry and kitchen chefs, with a total of nine young chefs making the grade in the 2023 cohort. Overall, 102 chefs have achieved the award since it was established in 2002.
For the final exam, which took place at the University of West London on September 1, Paige created an afternoon tea of fruit and plain scones, a Mediterranean vegetable tart, and a chocolate petit gateau, as well as producing a menu, costings and a selling price for the meal.
As part of her prize, Paige will travel to Italy for a four-day culinary tour including two days of one-to-one instruction from Pastry World Cup Champion, Massimo Pica, at his renowned pastry school in Milan.
Paige previously won Apprentice of the Year at the 2019 Craft Guild of Chefs Awards while working at The Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, and has been part of the kitchen team at Pentonbridge Inn since 2020.
Led by Head Chef Chris Archer, Pentonbridge Inn was awarded its first Michelin star in the 2023 edition of the Michelin Guide. The restaurant-with-rooms, which sits in countryside close to the Scottish Border at Penton, offers an eight-course set tasting menu featuring ingredients sourced from the restored walled garden of its sister business, Netherby Hall, a historic stately home in nearby Longtown.
Established in 1885 as a Guild of the Cookery and Food Association, the Craft Guild of Chefs has developed into the leading chefs’ association in the UK, with members worldwide.