Riso Gallo Young Risotto Chef of the Year 2020 Now Open for Wales & Midland Entries.


Italian rice specialists Riso Gallo has launched its Young Risotto Chef of the Year competition, aimed at budding chefs aged 18 -23 years old. This year eight regional finalists will be invited to attend the Welsh & Midlands heat on 18th November 2019 at Loughborough College.

Judging the Midlands heat will be; celebrity chef and TV presenter, Joe Hurd; James Peck, Head Chef and founder of Burnt Lemon Catering; Adam Lestrelle, Head Chef at the prestigious members club Roehampton Club; and Andrew Williams, winner of the 2019 Young Risotto Chef of the Year.

Following the heats, eight finalists will be invited to cook for the judges on 20th January 2020 at Westminster Kingsway College, where the winner will be named the Riso Gallo Young Risotto Chef of the Year.

The winner will receive an all expenses paid three day work experience with Jeff & Chris Galvin at the award winning La Chapelle, London.

The runner up will win a three day cooking experience with Executive Chef Danilo Cortellini at The Italian Embassy in London.

Both winners will also visit the Riso Gallo rice mill in Italy, to understand more about how the rice is grown and produced.

Last year, Elisha Johnson and Kimberley Sharp, from Nottingham College were both named as finalists in the Riso Gallo Young Risotto Chef of the Year competition. Elisha prepared a Roasted Squash, Radicchio and Goats Cheese Risotto. Kimberley prepared a Brussel Sprout, Bacon and Chestnut Risotto.

Kimberley said: “I chose this dish to represent my love for Italian food, but also to show my ability to put seasonal produce together to make a festive treat. I find these flavours and textures go well together and remind me of Christmas times with my family. I have also chosen this dish as it is flavoursome, but also shows a variety of colours.”

Entrants are asked to send a recipe and image of their risotto and say why they believe winning will enhance their catering career. Entry closing date is 31st October 2019.

The final judging panel will include; Consultant Chef Paul Gayler MBE; Danilo Cortellini, Executive Chef at The Italian Embassy; Adriano Cavagnini, Executive Chef at the Bulgari Hotel; Frances Atkins from the Yorke Arms and one of the few female Michelin Starred Chefs in the UK and Davide Degiovanni, Head Chef at Gordon Ramsay’s Union Street Café.

Andrew Williams, from Salthouse Bacaro in Liverpool was crowned Young Risotto Chef of the Year 2019, and prepared Caramelised Onion and Red Wine Risotto, with butter-roasted pine nuts, crispy onions, radicchio and taleggio. The risotto was finished with Valrhona chocolate, white alba truffle and chive oil.

Andrew spent three days working at Angela Hartnett’s Michelin Starred modern Italian restaurant, Murano, in London. He commented, “I had an amazing experience around such high level chefs. The team were lovely and inviting, and we had a really good time together.”


To enter: www.youngrisottochef.com



Risotto Rustico – Celeriac and chestnut risotto










Serves: 4

Preparation Time: 50 minutes

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Categories: Main course



280 g of Riso Gallo Risotto

30 g of grated Grana Padano cheese

40 g of onion (finely chopped)

30 g of unsalted butter

1 litre of vegetable or chicken stock

100 ml of dry white wine

1 small celeriac

2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

20 g of toasted hazelnuts, chopped

120 g of peeled chestnuts

1 tsp rosemary, chopped

Salt and pepper (to taste)



Start with the celeriac puree. Peel the celeriac and slice it roughly. The thinner the slices the quicker they cook.  In a casserole pan “sweat” half of the onion in a tbsp. of oil and add the celeriac to it. Season with salt and pepper, cover with a lid and cook until soft on low heat. Add a ladle of water if the celeriac starts to dry out.  Once ready blend well until you have a smooth puree.


Gently fry the chopped onion left in a small casserole with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt for about 10-15 minutes on low heat, until well golden and caramelised. Keep to one side.

In a large casserole, start to roast the rice on a low heat with a pinch of salt, without adding oil or fat. In this way, the heat reaches the core of each rice grain resulting in more uniform al dente rice. Keep stirring the rice, so the rice does not catch on the bottom of the pan or burn. When the rice is very hot, pour the white wine in. Let the alcohol evaporate, set the cooking time to 15 minutes and add the simmering stock a ladle at a time, little by little. Stir the rice occasionally, and keep cooking.


Halfway through the cooking, add the caramelised onion to the rice and 8 spoons of celeriac puree.


While the risotto finishes to cook caramelize half of the butter in a small casserole until brown. Now quickly roast the chestnuts in the brown butter to give it a nice colour and a whole new level of flavour. Be careful not to burn the butter as it can be used for the risotto too.


Once the cooking time of the risotto is up, if you’re happy with the texture remove it from the heat.


The last step is called “mantecatura” – with the right movements you can make the risotto creamier and increase its natural ooziness. Add the grated Grana Padano cheese and butter to the rice (as well as the brown butter from the chestnuts). Stir with energy to incorporate extra air until the risotto is nice and creamy. Season to taste.


Plate the hot risotto and top with the roasted chestnuts and toasted hazelnuts. Now sprinkle with chopped rosemary and serve straight away.

Recipe by Danilo Cortellini

For entries and Terms & Conditions visit www.youngrisottochef.com