LAURA Noble “rumped” to victory in the in the Aubrey Allen Home Cook of the Year at the Leamington Food Festival – two years after missing out on the title by a single point.
Laura, who lives in Coventry, was runner-up the last time the competition was held as part of the two-day Leamington Food Festival in 2019 and had to wait until this year because of Covid to finally get her hands on the prize.
She won praise from all three judges – including Michelin-starred Paul Foster from Salt in Stratford – for the consistent standard across all three courses.
She said: “I came so close last time that I had to give it a another go. To be honest I found this more daunting as I knew what was coming my way, but I was pleased with what I produced.
“I had a bit of panic as I cook with gas at home and the demonstration ovens were induction which can be a bit temperamental, but it all came good in the end.
“My family have had to each so much lamb rump in recent weeks they will be happy not to see another piece of it for quite a while!”
Laura, who works at Coventry University, produced a starter of baked Roquefort cheesecake with figs and balsamic onions on beetroot carpaccio, followed by herb-studded rump of lamb, warm vinaigrette, Mediterranean polenta batons, mascarpone cream and portobello mushrooms, and rounded off with a white chocolate and coconut mousse with pineapple compote and pistachio crescents.
Russell Allen, managing director of Aubrey Allen and chair of the judges, said Laura had produced restaurant-quality food.
“It is really about consistency across the three courses and although it was close run contest, Laura showed fantastic technique throughout and her food was very impressive.
“To produce food of that standard under this sort of pressure when you are a home cook really is some feat.
“It was so good to see so many people out and about today and I was so delighted that the traders will have done well after what has been such a tough time. It was good for the festival to be back.”
Abi Brown from Nuneaton was second and Martyn Jones from Kenilworth came in third in the competition.
The third judge was Sean Hughes – the man who had pipped Laura to the title in 2019.
The two-day outdoor festival is organised by BID Leamington with the support of local businesses.