Twenty-four-year-old Jimmy Gray has been named Sussex Young Chef of the Year after overcoming devastating personal tragedy that saw his family home destroyed by fire.
Jimmy, who works at Jeremy’s Restaurant at Borde Hill, was just one of a haul of Mid Sussex winners in this year’s Sussex Food and Drink Awards. Others were High Weald Dairy in Horsted Keynes, which won Sussex Food Producer of the Year for the second year running; Ridgeview Wine Estate in Ditchling; The Cat Inn in West Hoathly and Veasey and Sons Fishmongers in Forest Row.
Jimmy’s triumph was witnessed at the Amex Stadium in Falmer by his mum and dad, Carolyn and Peter, whose own restaurant and family home was razed to the ground last November. The tragedy that destroyed all their and their son’s lifelong possessions happened the day before the ‘cook-off’ in which Jimmy had to compete against six other finalists at Brighton College.
Jimmy said: “I don’t know how I did it. I just had to try and forget everything that had gone on the day before and concentrate as hard as I could.”
To read this story in full and for all the Sussex Food & Drink 2012/13 winners pick up a copy of the Mid Sussex Times out today (Thursday, February 7).