Abel looks to impress with top curry dish

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A STUDENT from North Tyneside is hoping to take away first prize at a national curry cooking contest after being mentored by the current North East Chef of the Year.

Abel Petho, 18, from Northumberland Park, will go head-to-head with around six other young cooks at this year’s Junior Curry Chef Competition to find out if his traditional lamb masala dish can win after perfecting the recipe with the help of John Connell, who was crowned North East Chef of the Year last year.

Abel, who is studying a Level 3 Diploma in Advanced Professional Cookery at Newcastle College, has been learning from one of the best in the business, with John previously working at The Savoy in London.

Abel, who is originally from Hungary, said: “My parents have been really encouraging and have been more than happy to taste my curries in the run up to the competition.

“I have always wanted to be a chef ever since I can remember and now that I have worked alongside someone of John’s caliber, I’m confident that I can impress the judges.”

John said of the young chef after meeting him on a recent trip to the college’s Chef’s Academy: “Abel has impressed me with his keenness to learn and his passion for Indian food.

“It’s always great to be able to pass on advice and guidance to youngsters as the catering industry can be a difficult one to make your name in.”

The young chef now wants to gain industry experience working in a kitchen before continuing his training at Newcastle College.