A Northampton College student has become the first person to ever be awarded a Gold Award with Distinction at the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards, with judges deciding that Gold alone ‘simply wasn’t enough’.
Austin Howsam, who is studying Level 3 patisserie and confectionery at Booth Lane, was named the winner of the College Student of the Year category at the awards, having impressed a panel of experts with his creativity and kitchen skills.
The ambitious young chef, who has already enjoyed experiences with the award-winning Burnt Lemon Chefs and spent time in the kitchens at The Spencer Arms in Chapel Brampton, launched his own company, Cheeky Chomp, with his girlfriend last year and has grown it throughout lockdown, with a loyal following on social media.
He said: “It feels fantastic to have won. I received a bronze as one of the youngest competitors in Young Chef of the Year and now obviously getting Gold with a Distinction is amazing.
“We set up Cheeky Chomp, which has been keeping us busy all over lockdown, it’s kept us going. All our products are handcrafted from a domestic kitchen. Our treats are based on what we as the owners love to eat, enjoy baking, or which follow the latest trends. We offer a range of services from cakes and bakes, platters for birthdays, conferences and any other special occasion, to personalised birthday cakes or afternoon teas.
“Northampton College has been really helpful over lockdown as well, providing us with work and keeping us busy, refining our skills.
“This award will be straight on my CV and it’ll be there for future employees to see and hopefully it’ll give me good representation.”
Austin’s award was ‘presented’ during a live virtual ceremony hosted on YouTube by Francesca Theokli of sponsors Weetabix, who said:
“The future of our sector is being developed through the work of local colleges right now and that’s exciting for all of us.
“As a business that is deeply rooted in our local community we know how much success in Northamptonshire matters. We know first-hand the difference it makes for a business and its employees and to feel they are contributing to a thriving local area.”
A range of culinary arts courses are available to study at Northampton College, with former students including the Michelin-starred Adam Grey, Richard Branson’s former personal chef Simon Dyer, and Danny Tompkins, a former winner of the Northamptonshire Chef of the Year award.
For more information visit Northampton College.