Near tragedy turned to triumph for young chef Jimmy Gray, who works at Jeremy’s Restaurant in Haywards Heath, West Sussex. He picked up the prestigious title of Sussex Young Chef of the Year 2012/13 in an awards ceremony that was held on the 31st January at the Amex Stadium in Falmer, Brighton.
Yet only 24 hours before he took part in the final cook off, fire tore through the property and business belonging to his parents and rendered them homeless.
Jimmy, however, was determined to take his place in the final line up last December, and the 24 year old wowed the judges overseeing the Young Chef category in the Sussex Food and Drinks Awards with his stunning 3 course meal that sealed his win as the best young chef in Sussex.
Jimmy demonstrated a focused mind, keen skills and culinary innovation in producing his winning dishes which comprised a starter of butter-poached lobster followed by a main course of Sussex mallard, the ingredients for which were all produced within a five-mile radius of Borde Hill.
Passion for food runs through Jimmy’s veins, having worked from the tender age of twelve in his parent’s business, running the catering on the Bluebell Railway. Whilst gaining experience in various restaurants, Jimmy did day-release at Westminster College for three years and gained his level-3 professional cookery qualification. “My inspiration comes from the quality of Sussex produce, be it the amazing local game, crabs and lobster from Selsey, or freshly picked organic vegetables grown three miles from the restaurant,” adds Jimmy.