Entries are now closed for 2018, and will re-open in January 2019.

Are you a confident chef aged 24 or younger, and ready to show off your skills and boost your career prospects?

If you are passionate about food and can cook a 3 course meal for 2 people using local produce, then you really should be entering the North West Young Chef of the Year Competition.

The competition is open to all chefs who will be 24 or younger on 2nd October 2018. Therefore date of birth should be 2nd October 1993 or later.

Final is on Wednesday 23rd May 2018 at South Cheshire College.

The winner and runner up from each semi-final will go forward to represent the region at the North West Young Chef Competition Final. There will also be two “wild card” entries which will be chosen at the judges discretion.

Keep up to date

Follow the competition on our Young Chef Facebook page and on Twitter @NWYoungChefComp

Last year’s winner

2017’s Winner was Thomas Reeves from L’Enclume. Read about his success here and the next stage of his culinary journey.

So what’s in it for you?

  • Increase your chances of achieving your long term goals
  • The opportunity to demonstrate your skills to a professional audience and get valuable feedback
  • The chance to meet and build relationships with your peer group
  • The opportunity to gain valuable competition experience


The winner will become the North West Young Chef of the Year, and gain automatic entry into the semi-final of the Craft Guild of Chef’s National Young Chef Competition.  The winner will also receive £500 cash prize, a demo slot at Northern Restaurant and Bar Live 2019,  a set of Robert Welch professional knives, a portable induction hob courtesy of CHR, and an overnight stay at the stunning Mere Hotel and Spa in Cheshire.

Hints and Tips

  • It is hugely important to understand why you are cooking your menu and spend some time looking at seasons and your own regions local foods. The judges will want to hear about your knowledge of the subject not just your cooking ability.
  • During the competition, you WILL be asked where you have sourced your ingredients from. On the entry form, provide evidence of your local and seasonal produce. Remember- the paper judging stage will focus on this evidence.
  • It is important to demonstrate your skills during the cook off. The more skills you demonstrate on the day, the more points the judges will be able to reward.
  • Don’t leave it to the last minute; be organised and proud of your application. Ask your mentors and colleagues for feedback.
  • Please read the Terms and Conditions carefully as changes have been made.

A word from the Chairman of Judges

Brian Mellor

“Ask any past competitor and they’ll tell you how beneficial it has been to be part of this competition. Supported and judged by the Region’s leading Chefs, it’s a valuable experience that will develop your skills and stand out on your C.V.”

Competitions Key To Mentoring Success

If anyone understands the importance of using competitions as part of the mentoring process, it’s Head Chef and Mentor Lisa Allen, from Northcote. She encouraged Danny Young to enter the 2014 competition, and supported him through the heats and finals as he went on to become the winner. “I definitely would encourage young chefs to enter this competition. Not only does it build experience and confidence, but it’s also a privilege to see young talent rising through the ranks.” The continued success of the North West Young Chef Competition, and the opportunities this brings to the young chefs who enter, is reliant on the encouragement the contestants receive in their workplace.

Enter now...

Please take your time when completing the form – think about your ingredients, and show the judges where you’re sourcing them from. Good luck!

  • Personal Details

  • Open to all chefs who will be 24 or younger on 2nd October 2018. Therefore date of birth should be 2nd October 1993 or later.
  • You must be 24 or under to qualify for entry.
  • Work Details

  • Locations

  • So what are you cooking for us?

    Please make sure you include evidence of regional, local and seasonal produce. The source of your ingredients must be clearly stated i.e. not local cheese, but John Bourne's Mature Cheshire. This information is very important for the paper judging stage.
  • Recipes

  • And finally...

Read the Official Rules...

North West Young Chef Competition Rules & Regulations

  1. The competition is open to all chefs who will be 24 or younger on 2nd October 2018. Therefore date of birth should be 2nd October 1993 or later. Open to chefs who are currently working in hotels, pubs, restaurants and other hospitality establishments throughout the North West.
  2. The competition is aimed at recognising your ability to plan, prepare and present a menu based on your knowledge of local produce grown and reared in the North West.
  3. Our definition of North West produce is “goods that are grown, reared, caught, brewed, pickled, baked, smoked or processed in the North West region” (which encompasses Cumbria, Cheshire, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Shropshire).
  4. All entrants must prepare a 3 course meal for 2 people at a total cost of £25.
  5. All entrants must work in one of the listed counties.
  6. Water baths are permitted to be used for the competition.
  7. The total cook off time is 2.5 hours, and you’ll be expected to serve all three courses in order (starter, main, dessert) within the final 45 minutes of the allowed time.
  8. All entries will be paper judged and the entries with the highest paper scores will be invited to one of the semi-finals.
  9. Judging at the paper stage will give highest marks to those of you who show excellent knowledge and understanding of regional produce including variation of cooking methods, balance of menu and terminology.
  10. All semi-finalists must be prepared to take part in the final in May 2018 if so required.
  11. The winner must be prepared to take part in a demonstration if the company deems this appropriate.
  12. Finalists should bring all necessary food ingredients with them. Prior preparation is discouraged, as marks will be awarded for the ability to work methodically & demonstrate technical skill.
  13. All entries are presumed to be the work of the competitor and the judges expect professional honesty at all stages of the competition.
  14. All fixed equipment will be supplied by the venues. You are required to bring your own light equipment such as pans, utensils, knives, trays and bowls. Crockery will be available, however, it is strongly recommended that you bring your own so that you can achieve the overall presentation you desire.
  15. A maximum of 2.5 hours will be allowed for cooking at the final, although unpacking and setting up time will be given beforehand.
  16. You should be properly attired and dressed in chef whites when attending the events.
  17. Judging of the final will incorporate hygiene and preparation methods as well as cooking and presentation skills, therefore as much of the preparation and cooking as possible should be done on the day.
  18. You should prepare and present 2 portions of each dish – one for presentation and one for tasting. Consistency of presentation is expected.
  19. Dishes for tasting need to be presented in menu sequence. These times will be advised on the day.
  20. Prizes are as stated. There will be no cash alternative.
  21. The judges’ decision is final.
  22. Essential Cuisine reserves the right to publish all recipes.