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15th March 2024

Craft Guild of Chefs catches up with YNCOTY winner Sam Dixon

Written by: Edward Waddell
Craft Guild of Chefs reporter Edward Waddell spoke to Young National Chef of the Year winner Sam Dixon to find out what it is like to win the prestigious competition, what he has been up to since winning and his favourite dish to cook.

The title of Young National Chef of the Year was awarded to Sam Dixon from Northcote after impressing the judges with his three course menu.

The winning menu was a starter of Norwegian cod, chicken skin, pickled mushroom, hen of the woods, smoked bacon using Seafood from Norway cod. Sam served up a main course of Aged Waterford Farm duck, glazed meatball, Ashcroft beetroot and for dessert a Manchester Tart.

Speaking about winning the competition and what he has been up to, Sam said: “It was incredible. No one prepares you to win. Although you do all the preparation to get to the final and cook your best, no one prepares you for that feeling if you actually win. It was unexpected. It was an absolute shock but it was an absolute honour as well.

“We have just had Obsession [Food Festival] at Northcote that was incredible. [The competition] changes your mindset really makes you realise that you can achieve things that you never thought you would. There are a lot of things to look forward to this year.”

As part of his prize, Sam went on an educational ‘culinary trip of a lifetime’ to Norway hosted by Seafood from Norway to celebrate responsibly sourced seafood. Sodiaal will take Sam to visit one of their farms in the Clermont-Ferrand region of France as well as a paragliding experience to discover the stunning scenery.

When asked about the upcoming trips and his plans for the future, Sam replied: “I’m looking forward to them. There’s a couple more trips to France. I have got some money to spend on stages from the Worshipful Company of Cooks.”

Sam’s best advice to the young chefs that will be competing for the title was to: “Don’t forget to enjoy yourself. That was the best advice that I got. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself.”

He said his favourite dish to cook at Northcote was the mackerel that is on the gourmet menu. Sam added it is “really quite simple but it shows good technique.” When speaking about chefs he would like to work with in the future, Sam named Gareth Ward, Hans Neuner and Henrique Sa Pessoa.