Hugh’s special prize for cook Freyja

Freyja Davids, from Brigstock, has been competing to be a Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall apprentice.
Freyja Davids, from Brigstock, has been competing to be a Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall apprentice.
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Former Corby pupil Freyja Davis has been offered a six-week internship at the River Cottage headquarters of celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Freyja, 18, a former pupil at Brooke Weston Academy, Corby, was one of the five finalists in the River Cottage Rising Star of 2013 competition.

She was runner-up in the contest but Hugh was so impressed with her cooking talents, he has invited her to spend six weeks at River Cottage headquarters in Axminster, Devon.

And she has also secured a place on Hugh’s new apprenticeship scheme.

Freyja, of Grafton Road, Brigstock, said: “I am so thrilled and really excited.

“The cook-off was nerve-wracking and I was absolutely terrified. I was shaking because I was so nervous but when I started to cook I calmed down.

“The other finalists were so good, I really didn’t expect to win. After the winner of the Rising Star Competition was announced Hugh spoke to me and said my dish had impressed him He is really lovely.”

For the final, the five hopefuls were asked to cook something which reflected their personality and style of cooking.

Freyja cooked hawk-caught pigeon with kohlrabi salad and summer leaves with nasturtiums.

She said: “I’m really looking forward to starting my apprenticeship in September.

“I haven’t got a date yet but I expect to hear soon. River Cottage is so beautiful and I really fell in love with the place.”

A River Cottage spokesman said: “The finalists remained remarkably calm and composed. In front of a 400-strong audience and a film crew, they each created and produced one stunning dish that reflected their cooking styles and passion for food.

“With a limited amount of time to cook, each contestant whipped up a gastronomic delight to a standard that made it hard to believe they had not even begun their career as chefs.”

The winner of the Rising Star Competition was Sam Lomas, 18, from Macclesfield, who has secured 12 months employment with Hugh and the team at River Cottage HQ.

To get to the last stage of the competition and try for a River Cottage apprenticeship Freyja was interviewed by Steven Lamb, the brand ambassador at River Cottage, and then submitted a recipe which went to a public vote.

Her YouTube video, which showed her making her family’s traditional birthday breakfast of poached turkey eggs and Auntie Mattie’s famous pancakes, received hundreds of votes and put her through to the Rising Star final.

Freyja said food has always played an important part in her family’s life.

She said: “This is an amazing opportunity for me. I would like to help people eat well, using sustainable food.”