A young chef's idea to liven up leeks has earnt him £1,000 and the top prize in a student recipe competition.

Ricky Matonti from Torcross Road in Ruislip scooped first place in the first ever British Leek Growers' Association recipe competition.

The 19-year-old trainee chef, who described himself as a great British leek fan, beat competition from across the country with his recipe for leek and potato arancini with burnt leek mayonnaise.

“I'm so pleased to win,” Ricky said.

“Leeks have a distinct flavour which adds sweetness but still doesn't overpower the whole flavour of the dish.

“My recipe shows the different ways you can use leeks – from an ingredient in mayonnaise and arancini balls through to a crispy topping to finish.”

He managed to make sure his top secret recipe wasn’t ‘leeked’ before the competition began, but the chef and restaurant diploma student is happy to share his recipe with readers to inspire them to creatively use British leeks.

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“I'm inspired by Heston Blumenthal and Simon Rogan who are both massive influences on the food I like to cook and would like to serve in my own restaurant one day,” Ricky added.

The £1,000 cash prize will go far for the student of the London School of Hospitality and Tourism at the University of West London, but he also earned a valuable trip to Allpress Farm as part of his win.

The farm’s owner, Patrick Allpress, a member of The Leek Growers' Association, said: “Ricky created an original recipe that appeals to all ages and presented it in a professional way.

“He also sent in an easy-to-follow YouTube video of how to make it – exactly what we were looking for in the first of our student recipe competitions, designed to take the humble leek to new culinary heights.”

Cook Ricky's recipe for leek and potato arancini with burnt leek mayonnaise:

Ingredients

2 Large Potatoes, peeled & diced fine

1 Large Leek, white part only, diced fine

2tbsp Salted Butter

Roughly 200ml Vegetable Stock

2tsp Chopped Parsley

50g Grated Parmesan

Salt & Pepper, to taste

1 Large Leek, middle part, cut in half

3tbsp Water or Stock

2 Egg Yolks

300ml Vegetable Oil

2tsp Vinegar

Salt & Pepper, to taste

Directions

1. For the potato ‘risotto’ sweat off the leeks with the butter, a pinch of salt and any additional ingredients for about 3/4mins until soft

2. Add the potatoes and mix around

3. Add the stock a tiny bit at a time until absorbed and add again, keep stirring to draw out starch

4. When the potatoes are almost cooked and quite dry quickly remove from the pan and add the parsley and parmesan

5. Place in blast chiller or fridge for a couple of hours or overnight until firm and cool

6. Roll the potatoes into balls and put in the seasoned flour

7. Then roll in the egg and finally in the bread crumbs

8. Fry at 160 until golden

9. For the burnt leek mayonnaise firstly heat a griddle pan until it is smoking, add the leeks and a splash of oil and fry for about 5 to 10 minutes until black all over

10. Blend the leeks with the water or stock until smooth and chill

11. Put the egg yolks in a bowl and very slowly add the vegetable oil, whisking as you go

12. Season with salt, pepper and vinegar and then add the cold leek mixture

13. Serve the arancinis on a plate with some blanched leek, the mayonnaise and some crispy fried leek (optional)

The mayonnaise can be made/kept for a week and the aranchini mix is best if made the night before so it is firm and ready to be rolled the next day.