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Emily Simkins from Hitchin, the winner of the Riso Gallo UK & Ireland Young Risotto Chef of the Year 2023, has claimed her prize – four days’ work experience with chefs Fabio Pisani and Alessandro Negrini at the two-Michelin-starred Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia in Milan.

Simkins [18], who also visited the rice mill of Riso Gallo, said: “To be able to work in such a prestigious restaurant, at the age and level I am, was incredible and one of the best opportunities I’ve had so far in my culinary journey.

“Just a handful of things I learnt while working in Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia: lots of Italian pastry techniques, pasta making, breads, canapés and how to create the most amazing risotto, plus I even learnt a bit of Italian!

“At the Riso Gallo Rice Mill in Robbio, we were in protective gear – to see where the rice comes from, plus how it is milled and shipped to countries around the world. We then went to a farm that grows rice sustainably, understanding how the famous water system works in helping it to grow,” continued Simkins.

“Overall, this has been a phenomenal opportunity I will never forget. I’m so lucky and can’t thank Aimo e Nadia and Fabio and Alessandro enough for their kindness and hospitality.”

Pisani added: “It’s always a pleasure for me – and us at Aimo e Nadia Group – to support the Riso Gallo’s UK & Ireland Young Risotto Chef of the Year. This competition is a great opportunity; not only for the young chefs to grow, but for us to meet different cultures and food perspectives, share new ideas, and imagine different ways to honour and celebrate the finest rice.”

Anthony Gascoigne, course team leader of hospitality & catering at North Hertfordshire College, added: “What an incredible experience Emily has had. The competition continues to inspire and gives young chefs the platform to express themselves in a competitive environment. Thanks to all involved.

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