Leamington Michelin-starred chef wins British cuisine trophy – with the help of his star teenage apprentice

Simon Haigh worked alongside 18-year-old apprentice Sam Bennett from Bishop’s Tachbrook

Sam Bennett and Simon Haigh
Sam Bennett and Simon Haigh

A Michelin-starred chef from Leamington has cooked his way to success after scooping a much-coveted culinary trophy – with the help of his star teenage apprentice.

Simon Haigh was named winner at this year’s Battle of Eden at a black-tie event at Mallory Court Hotel and Spa on Harbury Lane, Leamington, on Saturday November 12.

Haigh, who is chef director at Mallory, went head-to-head with four other chefs from hotels across The Eden Hotel Collection in a themed cook-off showcasing the best of British cuisine.

Simon's winning dish

Each chef created a dish from a five-course menu which was judged blind by more than 150 guests, with his winning dish produced and designed alongside 18-year-old apprentice Sam Bennett, from Bishop’s Tachbrook.

The dish was a hand dived scallop with garden salad, goat’s curd, truffled honey, seeds and grains, which celebrated the British country garden and was largely grown within the hotel’s Kitchen Garden or sourced sustainably.

He said: “It’s great to have won, especially given the quality from the other chefs this year.

“The dish is one I am really proud of as it sources most of the produce from our own gardens, meaning zero food miles or packaging which is a huge part of our ethos here at Mallory. Sam was a great input in this dish, so I’d like to say well done to him too.”

The popular gastronomic title is one of The Eden Hotel Collection’s most anticipated annual events and returned for the first time in five years, bringing together some of the country’s top chefs to Warwickshire.