Luke Thomas was working in the Michelin-starred kitchens of a five-star hotel at the tender age of 14, and became the UK's youngest head chef at just 18 years old. Two years on, Thomas' own restaurant was recently named the best in Berkshire - beating Heston Blumenthal's Fat Duck - and he's released his first cookbook with all the favourite recipes he has created throughout his short but impressive career!
Today, Luke is rustling up a simple, family-friendly meal, perfect for a Monday night: a roast chicken and vegetable pasta bake.
400g macaroni, penne or fusilli
100g broccoli, cut into small florets
100g cauliflower, cut into small florets
60g plain flour
200g Gruyere cheese
250g Parmesan cheese, grated
250g roast chicken
60g pine nuts
4 spring onions, chopped (use the white and green parts)
Salt and pepper
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the packet instructions. It should be al dente. Drain, refresh under cold running water, then tip into a large bowl and set aside.
Meanwhile in a separate pan of boiling salted water, cook the broccoli and cauliflower for about 5 minutes, until just tender. Drain, refresh under cold running water and add to the drained pasta.
In a small saucepan, bring the milk to the boil. At the same time, in a separate pan, melt the butter and stir in the flour until completely incorporated. With the pan still on the heat, pour the hot milk on to the flour mixture a little at a time, whisking and stirring until you have a smooth, thick white sauce. Remove from the heat and add three-quarters of the Gruyere and Parmesan cheese. Taste and season with a little salt and pepper if you think it needs it. Preheat the oven to 200C.
Pour three-quarters of the cheese sauce over the pasta and vegetables. Flake the cooked chicken into the mix and add the pine nuts and spring onions.
Divide the mixture into four individual ovenproof dishes. Top up with the remaining cheese sauce and sprinkle over the remaining cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes until crusty and golden brown on top.