Gold 'simply wasn't enough' for talented young chef from Northampton college

Austin Howsam became the first person to ever be given a gold award with distinction at the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards

Friday, 19th March 2021, 2:59 pm
Updated Friday, 19th March 2021, 3:02 pm

A Northampton college student became the first person ever to walk away with a gold award with distinction at the Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Awards after judges decided that gold alone "simply wasn't enough".

Austin Howsam, who is studying level three patisserie and confectionery at Booth Lane, was named the winner of the 'College Student of the Year' category at the awards, which took place virtually on Wednesday night (March 17).He said: "It feels fantastic to have won. I received a bronze as one of the youngest competitors in Young Chef of the Year and now obviously getting gold with a distinction is amazing."

The ambitious young chef, who has already enjoyed experiences with the award-winning Burnt Lemon Chefs and spent time in the kitchens at The Spencer Arms in Chapel Brampton, launched his own company 'Cheeky Chomp' with his girlfriend last year. They watched their business grow throughout lockdown, over the last 12 months, as they built a loyal following on social media.

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Austin Howsam.

Austin, talking about his business venture, said: “We set up Cheeky Chomp which has been keeping us busy all over lockdown - it’s kept us going. All our products are handcrafted from a domestic kitchen.

"Our treats are based on what we as the owners love to eat, enjoy to bake or which follow the latest trends. We offer a range of services from cakes and bakes, platters for birthdays, conferences and any other special occasion, to personalised birthday cakes or afternoon teas."

The young chef was presented with the prestigious award during a live virtual ceremony hosted on YouTube by the Weetabix marketing director, Francesca Theokli.

She said: “The future of our sector is being developed through the work of local colleges right now and that's exciting for all of us.

“As a business that is deeply rooted in our local community we know how much success in Northamptonshire matters. We know first-hand the difference it makes for a business and its employees and to feel they are contributing to a thriving local area.”

A range of culinary arts courses are available to study at Northampton college, with former students including the Michelin-starred Adam Grey, Richard Branson's former personal chef Simon Dyer and former winner of the Northamptonshire Chef of the Year award Danny Tompkins.

Austin added: “Northampton college has been really helpful over lockdown as well, providing us with work and keeping us busy, refining our skills.

“This award will be straight on my CV and it'll be there for future employees to see and hopefully it'll give me good representation.”

Visit for the full list of this year's Weetabix Northamptonshire Food and Drink Award winners and go to the Northampton college website for more information on their culinary arts courses.