A former soldier from Guisborough has won the Yorkshire Chefs for Heroes Cookery Competition at Swinton Cookery School near Masham.
Mark Ferguson, 26, has won a prize of cooking for a week at the renowned professional kitchens on the Swinton estate under his chef mentor James Cooper. He was one of five veterans who are being helped by Help for Heroes Phoenix House at Catterick Garrison, chosen to take part in yesterday’s cooking competition using Yorkshire game.
Mr Ferguson impressed the judges, which included Welcome to Yorkshire chief executive Sir Gary Verity and The Yorkshire Post’s Catherine Scott, with his ballotine of pheasant with garden carrots, blueberries and red wine jus.
“I love cooking and have enjoyed every moment of the competition,” said Mr Ferguson who was medically discharged from the Army with mental health problems. “I find that cooking really helps me with my mental health.”
It is the third year the joint initiative between Help for Heroes and Swinton Park Cookery School, has been held and saw five former members of the military trained in some of Yorkshire’s finest restaurants including the Blue Lion, East Witton; Rockcliffe Hall; Bowcliffe Hall; Samuel’s at Swinton Park and Rudding Park, Harrogate.
“It has been an honour to be involved with such an important competition,” said Sir Gary.
“Not only does it give these veterans new life skills it could even lead to a new career as a chef.”