Meet the Chef Ben Champkin in Dorset who has won South West Chef of the Year

Ben Champkin is a name to watch. This rising culinary star, who is 18, has just won the prestigious South West Chef of the Year

Meet the Chef

Ben Champkin is a name to watch. This rising culinary star, who is 18, has just won the prestigious South West Chef of the Year

What got you into cooking? I was interested from a very early age. I took a job as a pot washer and seeing chefs in action sparked my interest. I then started to watch Master Chef, Great British Menu and Gordon Ramsey, and it made me think – I want to be there one day.

Who inspires your cooking?Brett Sutton, who is Head Chef here at The Eastbury Hotel, Sherborne, where I have been working for just over a year. He has inspired and influenced me greatly. His passion for creating innovative flavours with locally grown and reared produce is contagious.

What has been your proudest moment in the kitchen?Seeing Brett, my mentor, shout with joy when Michelin-star chef Michael Caines chose me as South West Chef of the Year made me proud!

What was your winning menu?A starter of seared line-caught bass, crab fritter, gooseberries, rainbow baby chard and red sorrel, and a main of roasted Duroc pork loin, slow-cooked belly, crisp crackling, Burrow Hill cider syrup and summer vegetables. I chose this menu to reflect the landscape of Dorset and the surrounding counties What inspires you about living in Dorset? Living in Sherborne means that I have access to a fabulous larder. I can source cheeses, meat, fish, vegetables, locally grown rapeseed oil, locally grown and milled flour, and so there really is no reason to look elsewhere when the very best is on our doorstep.

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What is your favourite dish on the menu at the moment?I may be biased but it has to be my award-winning menu which is currently on The Eastbury’s main menu. I am delighted that the local community can try the dishes which won me my award

Sample Menu

StartersCarpaccio of Bridgehampton lamb, pickle of Jane and Ted’s carrots and radishes, toasted sunflower and rape seedsRoasted Dorset scallops, textures of peas and apples

Main coursesRoasted loin of Honeycombe venison, beetroot risotto, mushrooms and bitter chocolate sauceSage gnocchi, mushrooms, wilted spinach, toasted pine nuts, Montgomery cheddar cream

DessertsLocally foraged rosehips, rosehip cream, rosewater and cr�me fra�che sorbet    Blackberry and apple cheesecake, red-vein sorrel, blackberry bubbles

The Eastbury Hotel, Long Street, Sherborne, DT9 3BY  01935 813131, theeastburyhotel.co.uk

Head Chef: Brett SuttonTrainee Chef: Ben ChampkinPrices: Starters from �6.50, mains from �14 and desserts from �6.50Opening times: Lunch 12 noon-2pm; dinner (Mon to Sat) 7pm-9.30pm and Sun 7pm-9pm

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