Foodie Confidential: Winning with perseverance

Foodie Confidential: Winning with perseverance
Kirk Westaway, the sous chef of Jaan in Swissotel The Stamford, which serves modern French cuisine.

Chef Kirk Westaway believes in the value of hard work.

While studying for a National Vocational Qualification in restaurant, culinary and catering management at Exeter College in the United Kingdom, he was also working in a butcher shop and the kitchen of two restaurants.

Four years ago, just before coming to Singapore, he worked 46 hours straight at the now-defunct Patterson's restaurant in London, preparing food for 200 people.

The 29-year-old said: "As I sank into a chair for a rest, chef Raymond Patterson said to me, 'You know, Kirk, just never give up'. He was still on his feet and settling some paperwork. I saw the dedication in him and those words just stayed with me."

Passion and perseverance has indeed paid off for him.

Two weeks ago, he beat nine other chefs to be crowned the South-east Asian regional winner of the San Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 semi-finals.

The dish he cooked, called Forest Pigeon, was thought up while applying for the competition online last November. The pigeon is stuffed with thyme, bay leaves and garlic and cooked sous vide.

He also used vegetables not commonly seen, including crosnes, a kind of tuber, and served the dish with black truffle and barley risotto.

The Briton was born in Exmouth, a seaside town in East Devon. His mother, 65, is retired, while his father has died. He has two older sisters, aged 31 and 33, who work as a psychologist and a part-time social worker respectively.

He is currently the sous chef of Jaan in Swissotel The Stamford, which serves modern French cuisine.

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