The 21-year-old was one of seven talented finalists to compete for the accolade on October 11th at the Lancastrian Suite, Gateshead.
Organised by NECTA (North East Culinary and Trade Association), the competition involved a 30 minute knife skill class followed by a 60 minute challenge where they young chefs had to prepare, cook and present a two course menu for two people. They had to use scallop in the starter and guinea fowl in the main course and the entire menu had to complement seasonal local produce.
Keanan, who started working in the Clubhouse kitchen at Rockliffe Hall five years ago, was named the winner and is now automatically seeded through to the semi-final of the Craft Guild of Chefs National Young Chef of the Year competition, which will take place in mid-2019.
Keanan, from Darlington, says: “I’m so excited to have won this award. I was up against some great chefs and feel privileged to have come first. I’m looking forward to the challenge of competing in the national competition next year.”
Paul O’Hara, Executive Chef of The Clubhouse, who has worked closely with Keanan for the last five years, says: “I’m very proud of this lad! He started with me aged just 16 and now he’s won a top competition. Everyone at Rockliffe Hall is so delighted for him and proud to have him in the team at The Clubhouse.”
Douglas Jordan, Chairman of NECTA adds: “The standard of food produced by each chef was extremely high and people attending from outside the region were very impressed. As Chairman, I had every confidence it would be a competition of quality and was proved to be right.”
He continues: “Our compere for the day, George McIvor, Chairman of the Master Chefs of Great Britain, who judges all around the country, said this was an outstanding competition while Susan Justice from Bidfood, our main sponsor, was extremely proud to host the competition.”