NORTH triumphed over south in this year's Egon Ronay's Guides Chef of the Year competition, with Lancashire's Nigel Haworth narrowly defeating rising London star Jean-Christophe Novelli.
Consistency and balance of flavours were the key to Mr Haworth's victory, according to Chef editor Catey Hillier, who was one of the judges at last week's final at Westminster College.
Mr Haworth, who is chef-proprietor at Northcote Manor, prepared soufflé of lobster wrapped in spinach infused with tarragon; braised shin of British pork with broad beans, plum tomatoes and cream'd polenta; ending with minted nectarine and raspberry jelly, honey sabayon.
Fittingly for someone whose car blew up on the way to the competition, the winner picked up a Ford Mondeo GLX as his prize. Mr Novelli, who has worked at the Four Seasons Hotel since last year, won a cash prize of £1,500.
The other finalists in the British Meat-sponsored competition were Gerald Rîser of Rîser's in Hastings, East Sussex; Steven Blake of Bath's Royal Crescent Hotel; Peter Jackson of the Maes-y-Neuadd hotel, near Harlech, Gwynedd; and David Wilson of Fife's Peat Inn.