Finalists revealed for North West Young Chef competition

Following an unprecedented three semi-finals, six young chefs now stand on the edge of glory, as the 2018 North West Young Chef competition reaches its final phase.

The competition calls on young chefs to create a three course menu with seasonality at its heart. For the first time in its history, a third semi-final was added to accommodate the weight of strong entries.

The high pressure cook-offs saw candidates from Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, Cheshire, Cumbria and Shropshire, respectively, squaring off, with three outstanding young chefs making the grade.

The judging team, led by Chairman Brian Mellor and Jonathan Harvey-Barnes, Senior Business Development Chef at lead sponsor Essential Cuisine, then compared all the remaining participating chefs to allocate an additional three ‘wildcard’ places for the final.

The finalists are as follows:
· Oliver Mather (Punchbowl at Crosthwaite)
· Ruairi Erwin (Northcote)
· Sion Hughes (Carden Park)
· Alasdair Aitken (Chefs Table)
· Mai Trising (Black Swan Hotel)
· Cyril Gabriel (Carden Park)

The state-of-the-art kitchens at South Cheshire College will provide the backdrop for the 23rd May final where, alongside the coveted title, one chef will scoop an automatic seed in to the Young National Chef of the Year finals plus £500 in cash and a weekend for two at Cheshire’s The Mere Golf Resort & Spa.

Brian Mellor said, “We adapted the competition last year to find the cream of talent in the region, and with a third semi-final added to the format for 2018, it looks like we’re achieving that. The quality and intensity of the cook offs could have easily been the final, with the passion and dedication really shining through.”

Jonathan Harvey-Barnes, added, “Across the three semi-finals, each young chef impressed with their skill, meticulous menu planning and execution. In the end, we have six extremely worthy finalists. The margins between the competitors are so narrow that it is going to be very hard to call. This sets us up for a closely fought competition, I can’t wait to see what they produce on the day.”

The competition, sponsored by CHR, Sousvide Tools and Essential Cuisine, also gives finalists the opportunity to attend an exclusive masterclass with an acclaimed chef before the final on 23 May.