Chichester College 17 year-old wins best young chef of the year
Teenager Sahil Ahmad, has been cooking up a storm as head chef at Lemongrass and won the prestigious award last week.
The Chichester College student, who is studying level 3 hospitality, has worked at Lemongrass since he was sixteen years old and learned how to cook from his father. The group, which offers fine Thai dining have a restaurant on Chichester's St Pancras also named Lemongrass.
Sahil was named Best Young Chef at the Asian Curry Awards, but he was not the only family member to win prestigious awards that night, his father, Minhaz Nasir, the founder of The Lemongrass Group, also won the award for the Best Restaurant Group in the Country, and Goring-by-sea based restaurant Spice I Am, a sister branch, won the award for Best Thai in the South of England.
Sahil said: "I always knew I had a passion for cooking, from when I was a small child I have fond memories of watching my father chopping, preparing, crafting, cooking his dishes using his own herbs and spices. A child at the time, eyeballing my father's creations from a distance was like a work of art, and now I see food preparation as a work of art; to be adored on a plate and the palate".
The skilled 17 year-old, said after receiving the award: "Thankyou to everyone who voted for me at the Asian curry awards. Thank you to my father Nasir who has taught me everything I know, I'm honoured with my award and humbled by your applause. To win this award aged 17 is an incredible achievement for myself. There is so much I want to give back to Spice I Am so watch this space for my dishes rooted with my childhood, father & son memories”.
The talented teen is however not resting on his laurels and is looking for ways the family business can grow. Sahil added: "My ambitions are to continue growing Lemongrass, my father has grown it to 16 branches so with me and my dad running the kitchens and training staff at the back of house, and my brother running training and development of front staff I believe there’s no limit to our growth! I have big ambitions of not just taking Lemongrass to London but also to the international stage."
The rathe-ripe restaurateur, who works primarily in Spice I am, is head chef in a kitchen of 10-12 cooks and said that a Panang Curry his best meal: "It has such nice flavour coming from the kaffir lime leaves, and the combinations of ingredients".
Sahil also stated that his favourite meal is a hot green curry served with jasmine rice 'just the perfect treat to warm me up on a cold afternoon'.
The food fanatic also divulged his favourite places to eat in Chichester, he said: "Chichester is a great place for eating and dining! I have to be biased and say that the best place to dine is Lemongrass! However when I’m feeling an Indian my go-to is Masala City and my go-to for Turkish is Reina Kitchen! We are lucky to be surrounded by great entrepreneurs and chefs in the South Coast".
To celebrate its win, Spice I Am, is doing a “Eat Out To CELEBRATE” campaign, where they are offering 50% off the a l carte menu. The offer is only for Monday to Wedneday 5.30pm-10pm and is maximum £10 per head. They advise to book before to avoid disappointment. Call: 01903 241235