Meet YNCOTY finalist Jamaar Semper, junior sous chef at Lucknam Park Hotel
Jamaar is currently working as a junior sous chef at Lucknam Park Hotel which is a five-star country hotel based in Wiltshire. He began training as a chef at City of Bristol College where he studied for two years as an apprentice. His first job was at Berwick Lodge Hotel, under chef Paul O'Neill. During his time there he was promoted to chef de partie.
When it comes to being a chef, he loves that every day is different to the previous. He thrives on the challenge of making dishes and being creative. It’s a job he has wanted to do from a young age after helping his mum in the kitchen as a child.
His current, executive chef, Hywel Jones is his biggest inspiration. Jamaar describes him as a fantastic mentor who he has learned so much from in a short amount of time. When he looks at all the chefs he has trained over the years, Jamaar feels this is incredibly inspiring.
When it comes to competing, Jamaar enjoys the challenge of creating dishes from scratch, showing his creativity, and challenging himself against other chefs. Being one of the final ten in such a prestigious competition feels a huge achievement in itself but he really wants to take the title. Seeing the names of previous chefs who have won has inspired him to push himself to be added to the list of winners.
During lockdown he has been working on dish ideas and trying to improve his pastry skills as he hasn’t done much work on pastry in the past. He’s found it challenging not being able to practice as much as normal in a work environment due to space and social distancing measures. However, he feels there has been many positive things to take away from the pandemic as it has given many chefs a well-earned break and time to be creative and plan dishes without the time pressure. Whilst it has been hard being away from the kitchen, it has given him extra motivation for this competition.