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Oct 18, 2013, 1:03:00 PM
Highgate House, Northamptonshire

Lee Gaskins, Head Chef at The Terrace Restaurant, Highgate House has been crowned ‘Aspire Chef of the Year' in the Carlsberg UK Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards.

The awards, now in their fifth year, took place at the Royal & Derngate in Northamptonshire on Thursday 17 October, where over 250 people gathered to celebrate Northamptonshire's prestigious food and drinks sector - a county that has more than twice the national average of food producers and manufacturers.

Competition was higher than ever this year, with the Awards receiving a record number of nominations and entries from businesses across the whole of the county.

Lee Gaskins, Head Chef at The Terrace Restaurant at Highgate House, was crowned ‘Aspire Chef of the Year', a category which recognises the excellence of Northamptonshire's senior chefs, aged over 25.

Gaskins was shortlisted alongside four other chefs. All five finalists took part in an exciting final at Northampton College's kitchens where they were given a surprise store cupboard of ingredients including an unskinned rabbit and were challenged to create two courses of their choosing. It was the success of this challenge, alongside Gaskins' submission of a three-course menu with a Northamptonshire twist, which led to his win. Gaskins also won the same award in 2011/12 - a real testament to his talent.

Upon receiving the award at the ceremony last night, Gaskins said:

"I'm incredibly proud to be named ‘Chef of the Year' - what an honour to hold this title for the county for the second time. It has been a pleasure taking part in the awards, meeting some great chefs and judges and cooking with some of Northamptonshire's finest produce. Thank you to everyone for their support, especially my team and colleagues at The Terrace Restaurant at Highgate House."

‘The Terrace Restaurant' at Highgate House was also a finalist in the ‘Restaurant of the Year' category. For those wishing to try Gaskin's food, reservations can be made at The Terrace Restaurant, Highgate House, Creaton. To book a table, please call 01604 731 747.