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Emy Mordue is our 2016 Devon Home Cook winner

PUBLISHED: 15:14 15 November 2016 | UPDATED: 15:14 15 November 2016

Our 2016 Devon Home Cook winner Emy Mordue with Mike Richards from Bradburys Kitchens

Our 2016 Devon Home Cook winner Emy Mordue with Mike Richards from Bradburys Kitchens

Matt Austin

Devon has a new Home Cook champion and she’s set to take on the South West, reports Catherine Courtenay

Emy Mordue's brulee Emy Mordue's brulee

Twenty nine-year-old Emy Mordue from Broadclyst is celebrating being named Devon Home Cook 2016.

The announcement was made at the Devon Life Food and Drink Awards gala dinner.

The competition, now in its third year, is run by Devon Life with Exeter’s Bradburys kitchens showroom. Six shortlisted candidates took part in a cooking challenge over a weekend in October with three making it though to the second day’s final where they had to cook a complete menu in front of the judging panel – Michelin restaurant chefs Anton Piotrowski from The Treby Arms, Michael Wignall from Gidleigh Park and Mark Dodson from The Masons Arms; Miele GB executive chef Sven-Hanson Britt and last year’s Home Cook winner Alex Murdin.

It was a close run final with the judges saying the standards were getting better and better each year.

Devon Home Cook finalists Emy Mordue, Chris Davis and Karen Walker with Mike Richards from Bradburys Kitchens Devon Home Cook finalists Emy Mordue, Chris Davis and Karen Walker with Mike Richards from Bradburys Kitchens

Praising her starter of rolled Brixham sole with Brixham crab, lemon drizzle and cockles and her efficient and calm way of working in the kitchen, the judges awarded the third prize of a patisserie masterclass with Michael Caines’ former head pastry chef at Gidleigh Park, Sylvain Peltier, to Karen Walker from Paignton.

Part-time farmer Chris Davis from Dunkeswell took second prize of a River Cottage cookery course, after cooking a sirloin of his own, home-reared Dexter beef for his main dish. He also set up a smoker outside the showroom to produce his hot smoked Devon sea trout starter. The judges said his menu showed a strong sense of seasonality with each dish having “a good story’” behind it. They also praised his relaxed and enjoyable approach to the competition, which they said reflected the true spirit of home cooking.

They praised Emy’s technical skills and said her brûlée, the dish she was most worried about getting right, was the best dish of the competition with its perfect honeycomb. As well as being presented with a KitchenAid worth £500, Emy will experience a day of cooking with Anton Piotrowski in his Michelin-starred restaurant The Treby Arms. Inspired by her success, she’s also planning to launch her own website, realfoodie.co.uk, in the new year.

“Cooking is just something I’ve always enjoyed doing. I thought I’d give the competition a go, but I never expected to get through to the final – and to hear the announcement at the awards, I was in shock!” she says before adding, “I think it all came together in the end and I’m lucky in that it was the best crème brûlée I’d ever made.”

For the first time this year, the winner of the Devon Home Cook competition gets an automatic place in the Home Cook final of next year’s prestigious South West Chef of the Year competition.

“Cooking at home is increasingly popular as more home cooks are keen to try new and diverse recipes and develop their skills further,” says competition founder Michael Caines, MBE. “The South West Home Cook competition is now in its thirteenth year and it’s very exciting to see the growing ambition of home cooks reflected in the quality of cooking we see in the competition. We have seen the same high standard in the Devon Life Home Cook competition and are very much looking forward to welcoming this year’s and future winners to our final and to seeing how they continue to make the best of the wealth of produce available here in Devon.”

Click here to watch a video of the home cook weekend:

Emy’s winning menu

Starter:

Breaded Sharpham brie with candied bacon, topped with beetroot micro greens and finished with a hand-picked sticky blackberry and balsamic sauce.

Main:

Chargrilled chicken breast with wild mushroom Marsala cream sauce infused with rosemary and thyme, served with roasted garlic fondant potato and homegrown cavolo nero, finished with truffle oil

Dessert:

Pink elderflower crème brûlée with elderflower sugar, honeycomb shards and crushed pistachio.

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