Chef Of The Month October 2016: Ben McDougall

Ben McDougall,
Cafe Ambio

I first got a taste for being a chef after I got a part time job as a kitchen porter. Being on the side lines, watching and helping out with basic food preparation was fascinating and inspired me to secure a career as a chef.

My first year of cooking and training was at The White Water Hotel. Here I did starters and desserts in the Riverside Restaurant and occasionally hot food in The Dolly Blue Bar. However, my interests laid elsewhere; pastry had always caught my attention and that was the area I wanted to specialise in as a chef.

 I was completing my first year at Kendal College, where I studied a level 2 professional cookery course as an apprentice.  I was asked if I would like to work for 8 days in France for Andrew Southcott Catering at the 24 hour Le Mans. As I am a huge motorsport fan I could not refuse this fantastic opportunity. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, and from this I was offered a job at Café Ambio.

My new employer offered me a full time job and the opportunity to do a level 3 Pastry apprenticeship course at Kendal College. I was also fortunate enough to go back to France and work at the Classic 24 hour Le Mans.


Braised Lamb Shoulder served with spinach and potato rosti, lamb jus, broad beans, baby root veg and water cress.


Lamb shoulder

Lamb Bones

1 Sprig Thyme

1 Sprig Rosemary

2 Cloves Garlic

Broad Beans

Baby Turnips

Baby Carrots

Baby Beetroots

Water Cress




600ml White wine


Firstly place the lamb into a large deep oven tray, cover with water and roughly chop some mixed veg into the water with salt and pepper, let it cook over night so its tender. Once cooked pull any fat away, place the lamb onto cling film and roll nice and tight. Take some of the water that you cooked the lamb in and place into another pan, pour in some the white wine thyme, rosemary and garlic to make the jus, let reduce and season to taste. Cook the baby veg and broad beans in water gently season the water with salt. Peel and grate the potatoes, place grated potato into cloth a squeeze the water out, chop the spinach and mix with some melted butter, salt and pepper, then press into rings and cook on a tray lined with greaseproof in the oven until golden on both sides.