apetito chef makes it to National Chef of the Year finals

By Nick Batten on 4 September, 2023

Jethro Lawrence, a chef at Trowbridge-based meals provider apetito, has made it to the final of the National Chef of the Year contest.

Run by the Craft Guild of Chefs, this prestigious competition has previously been won by several well-known names in the culinary world including Gordon Ramsay, putting Jethro in the top 12 of all the chefs in the country. 

The former Head Chef at the 2 AA Rosette Woolley Grange Hotel and BBC MasterChef quarter finalist joined apetito as a Development Chef two years ago and works with its team of in-house Chefs and Dietitians to develop high-quality, nutritious meals its customers love. 

For the semi-finals the Chefs were tasked with cooking one dish, which had to be vegan, based on one humble ingredient and focused on zero waste. Jethro chose carrots as his main ingredient, which he elevated to a gastronomic level and turned into a dish worthy of a place in the final. 

Jethro said, “For my Semi-Final dish, I’ve done my version of a Tarte Tatin but with tandoori carrot. It was inspired by my time working with Simon Rogan who did a similar dish but with the classic apple. 

“With the cost of food rising recently, it’s been great to get a bit more creative by using every part of a humble ingredient. When I saw the brief, I was very happy, as I was vegan for about 10 years and the flavour combination of this dish reminds me of meals we would have had at home.” 

Jethro created his Tandoori Carrot Tarte Tatin by rolling up thin sheets of carrot and baking them with a Vadouvan spiced coconut butter caramel. For the base he made vegan puff pastry to add a rich crisp texture. 

He served it with a coconut-based sauce and a roast carrot broth, made using some of the leftover carrot scraps and infused with a coriander oil. 

To ensure the dish was zero-waste, with the other half of the leftover scraps of the carrots, he made a carrot vinegar gel which added acidity to the dish and offset the sweetness from the carrot. The dish was garnished with a crisp salad of thinly shaved heritage carrots, from a local supplier in Bromham, Wiltshire and flowers from his garden. 

Phil Rimmer, Head Development Chef at apetito, said, “We’re all so proud of Jethro to have made it this far in the competition. Since joining apetito, he’s brought extensive knowledge, innovation, and value to our meals’ development programme, creating some really incredible dishes that customers love. 

“Every single dish he’s cooked in this competition looked and tasted incredible and the whole of the team apetito is cheering him on.” 

The dish really impressed the judges and secured him a place in the final, which will be held at the University of West London on 10th October. 

Pictured above: Jethro Lawrence, Development Chef at apetito