Following three nail-biting semi-finals, six young chefs now stand poised for glory, as the 2019 North West Young Chef competition reaches its culmination this May.
The competition calls on young chefs to create a sumptuous three-course menu for two with seasonality at its heart. The three high-pressure semi-final cook-offs saw candidates from across the North West go head to head to showcase their culinary talents, with three outstanding young chefs – and three ‘wildcard’ judges picks; those deemed simply too good to not progress – making the grade.
Adam Green, 21, Commis Chef, Twelve Restaurant and Lounge Bar, Lancashire
Bethan Disley-Jones, 17, Apprentice Pastry Chef, The Art School, Liverpool
Sean Anthony-Noonan, 24, Head Chef, Griffin Inn, Eccleston
Jan Vrancken, 21, Chef de Partie, The Cartford Inn, Preston
Oliver Fitton-Thomas, 22, Sous Chef, The Ryebeck Hotel, Bowness-on-Windermere
Edwin Kuk, 20, Chef de Partie, The Art School, Liverpool
Chairman of the judges, Brian Mellor revealed that he and fellow chef judges found the standard this year to be so exceptional, that once winners of each of the three semi-finals were chosen, they, after much deliberation, selected three extra ‘wildcard’ places for the final.
Brian says: “Every year my fellow judges and I continue to be impressed by the standard of young talent we have here in the North West. London may be seen as the culinary capital, but we are more than holding our own. In these hungry young chefs, I see real passion, strong technical ability and an excellent understanding of local and seasonal produce. We pushed them hard and each candidate truly deserves their place in the final.”
The 2019 judging team includes Jonathan Harvey-Barnes, Senior Development Chef from competition sponsors, Essential Cuisine, Francisco Martinez, Group Executive Chef at Fazenda plus BBC Great British Menu stars, Craig Sherrington, and Ellis Barrie, chef and co-owner, the Marram Grass, Anglesey.
For the final on May 15th the team will be also be bolstered by a welcome return to the industry for Matt Davies of the British Culinary Federation, following time out of the kitchen after an accident last year.
Brian adds: “Few have done more to further the profile of this competition over the years than Matt. We can’t wait to have him back where he belongs.”
Cheshire College – South and West will provide the backdrop for the 15th May final where, alongside the coveted title, one chef will scoop an automatic seed in to the prestigious Young National Chef of the Year semi-final, plus £500 and a weekend for two at Cheshire’s The Mere Golf Resort & Spa.
The competition, sponsored by Essential Cuisine, CHR, and Sousvide Tools, also gives finalists the opportunity to attend an exclusive masterclass with an acclaimed chef before the May deadline.
Also supporting the competition and the young chefs are industry supporters Staff Canteen, Lancashire Life, Robinsons Brewery, Robert Welch, Oliver Harvey, Villeroy and Boch, RD Wines, and The Mere.