A chef at Bagden Hall Hotel who was a delivery driver for Deliveroo less than a year ago has won the Classic Lodges Junior Chef Award.

Chris Pendlebury was a delivery cyclist for Deliveroo while he was studying Psychology at Leeds University. Two years into the course Chris decided that it wasn’t his real passion and where he saw his future career, so looked for apprentice roles within restaurants and hotels on a government website.

For the competition junior chefs from all ten of the Classic Lodges-owned hotels were given two months to research and practice a dish from a box of ingredients. Chris cooked a fillet of Sea Bream wrapped in thin potato with a moule mariniere, creamed leeks and a fennel and lemon salad. His prize was a set of knives and a Heston Blumenthal Fat Duck cookbook.

“Head Chef and mentor, Scott Oldroyd helped to develop the dish. Scott is a fantastic teacher – I couldn’t ask for a better mentor, he says. “I love the variety the role gives me. No two days are the same – there is something different to do every day including devising dishes for banqueting, a la carte and fine dining. It enables me to be creative and do some cooking every day which is what I love. The knives are fantastic – I am looking forward to trying some of the weird and wonderful dishes from the book!”

General Manager of Bagden Hall Hotel, Caroline Gleeson, says Chris has an exciting future ahead of him: “Chris has a real natural flair for cooking and it’s great to see him recognised so early in his career. He is a fantastic addition to our excellent kitchen team and Scott rates him very highly. Together they are cooking interesting, modern cuisine for guests to The Glendale restaurant.”