A rising star from the Goodwood Estate has served up a superb menu and fought off fierce competition to be crowned ‘Sussex Young Chef of the Year’.
Isabella Raccagna, 22, Chef de Partie at Farmer, Butcher, Chef restaurant is the first female chef to have won the accolade following a ‘MasterChef’ style cook-off against five other highly talented rivals.
The winner of the coveted title ‘Sussex young Chef of the Year’ was revealed at a ceremony last night (Wed 15 May) as part of the Sussex Food and Drink Awards 2019.
Goodwood Group Executive Chef, Darron Bunn said: “This is an incredible achievement for Isabella to win such a highly regarded and distinguished award. All the judges including Michelin starred chefs praised Isabella for her outstanding cooking and innovative menu.”
A seven-course banquet where all the winners were announced was held at the Amex Stadium in Brighton and hosted by patron Sally Gunnell OBE and Danny Pike of BBC Sussex.
Goodwood Entertainment and Hospitality Managing Director, Andrew Coggings added: “I am tremendously proud of Isabella for winning this prestigious title. This award also acknowledges the great work done by Darron Bunn and his culinary team in developing and inspiring young talent at Goodwood.”
The young chefs were asked to create a special spring menu to mark the change of the seasons. The three-course dinner or lunch had to showcase ingredients from Sussex producers, farmers and growers with a budget of £15 per person and only 90 minutes to produce two plates of each course.
Isabella, an enthusiastic chef who joined Farmer, Butcher, Chef six months ago, impressed the judges with her passion and use of locally sourced food from the Goodwood estate which shone through her menu.
For her starter Isabella used locally foraged sea herbs with a citrus cured sea bream served with pickled red cabbage, pickled shimeji mushrooms and a cabbage gel.
This was followed with a pan fried lady steak, cooked in dripping with mushroom ketchup and wild garlic served with baby Jerusalem artichokes and oyster mushrooms.
For dessert Isabella delivered a challenging unique twist with an apple and cherry blossom sorbet, rosemary crumble served with Chantilly cream parfait.
Receiving her award Isabella said: “I am completely speechless, and that is surprising for me. I just want to keep doing what I’m doing and get better at producing tasty food and making it look great.”
The judging panel included the nationally acclaimed chef and Great British Menu Winner, Matt Gillan from Electro Pirate, George Blogg from Gravetye Manor, Tristan Mason from Restaurant Tristan, Daniel Clifford from the two Michelin star Midsummer House and Fran Villani, food blogger and designer along with sponsor and former restauranteur Adrian Burr from Blakes Foods.
Farmer, Butcher, Chef was a runner up in ‘Sussex Eating Experience of the Year’ and Goodwood’s Home Farm was a finalist in the ‘Sussex Food Producer of the Year’.
The Sussex Food and Drink awards are managed by the not-for-profit organisation, Natural Partnerships CIC with the intention of supporting rural businesses in the region and sponsored by the UK’s leading provider of award-winning food and hospitality Sodexo Prestige.
Inspiration for Goodwood’s Farmer, Butcher, Chef, which is located next to The Goodwood Hotel, comes from the relationship between farmer, butcher and chef. They work together to create the frequently-changing and diverse menu that showcases Goodwood’s organic farm produce.
Not many can control every aspect of their produce in the way Goodwood can. From the fields where livestock graze to the in-house butchery and eventually to the kitchen – where the dishes are created – Goodwood oversees the whole process.
The butcher is directly involved in designing dishes according to what cuts are available. An original approach that means nothing is wasted. Not only does this show the utmost respect for the animals, but it allows guests to enjoy unusual and rare cuts, bringing nostalgic cooking back to life.