A LAST minute recipe change proved to be to the key to success for a catering student who took the honours in a prestigious inter-college competition.

Darlington College student Hannah Southern, from Catterick, completed her lamb dish in full for the very first time at the regional heat of the North East Inter-college Catering Competition, held at East Durham College.

The best end of lamb with offal garnish and a potato and vegetable accompaniment won high praise from lead judge, owner of Durham restaurant Oro, Marco Di Soro, who described the combination as stunning.

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It was enough to secure first place just ahead of fellow Darlington College student Lewis Welburn, a modern apprentice, of Reeth, who already works at the Michelin two-star restaurant the Raby Hunt, at Summerhouses, near Darlington.

Hannah, 18, of Catterick, is studying for a diploma in professional cookery and looks set to be offered an apprenticeship with the five star Rockliffe Hall Hotel, Hurworth.

She said: “I had two hours to prepare the main dish and I absolutely loved it. I was surprised and delighted to win.”