Pete Smith with his winning trifleONE of the North East’s top chefs has proved he is not to be trifled with, after serving up a winning dish.

Pete Smith, junior sous chef at five star Seaham Hall Hotel, has beaten chefs from hotels across the region in The Great North Menu Challenge 2014, with a modern twist on a traditional dessert.

Pete, 24, originally from Surrey, was one of 11 chefs who battled it out to impress judges, including 21 Hospitality Group owner Terry Laybourne, with their starters, main courses and desserts, during the competition, which was held at Darlington College last week (October 30).

And his rum, coke, griottine cherry and chocolate trifle will now be served at the annual North East Hoteliers Association dinner, at Hardwick Hall, Sedgefield, in February 2015.

“I was up against stiff competition from chefs I really admire, from venues such as Rockcliffe Hall,” said Pete, who formerly worked at The Roxburghe Hotel, Kelso, “but I had absolute faith in my classic flavour combinations and in the simplicity of the dish.”

Pete joined Seaham Hall in July and – under the leadership of executive chef Simon Bolsover – creates dishes for both its two AA rosette Byron’s Bar and Grill and the pan-Asian Ozone restaurant within the hotel’s award-winning Serenity Spa.

Seaham Hall general manager Ross Grieve said: “We are delighted that Pete’s dessert was chosen.

“He excels at taking classic ingredients and presenting them in such a way as to create a totally memorable dish.”