Meet the North West Young Chef of the Year 2017 finalists

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 22nd May 2017

The North West Young Chef of the Year 2017 final will take place at Manchester College on Tuesday, May 25.

In anticipation of the competition's end, we take a closer look at the remaining six:

North West Young Chef of the Year 2017, finalist, chef Daniela Tucci, The Art School restaurant, Liverpool, Essential Cuisine
Daniela Tucci

Name: Daniela Tucci

Age: 20

Place of work: The Art School Restaurant

Position: Chef de partie

Bio: Daniela is a chef de partie currently running the pastry section of The Art School Restaurant in Liverpool. She has been working at The Art School for just over two years, having started in October of 2014 as a level three apprentice. Before working there she was an apprentice in a tea room in Crosby, making cakes, sandwiches and wraps. 

What made you want to become a chef?

"I've always been interested in cooking and my mother was always baking at home for us or friends, that’s what drew me towards the pastry side of the kitchen. I did food technology for my GCSE and then went straight to college." 

Why did you want to take part in North West Chef of the Year for a second time, having won the competition last year?

"Winning the competition last year gave me the opportunity to be a semi-finalist in the National Young Chef of the Year. When I got through I was one of 10 finalists in the National Young Chef of the Year. Competing in that was an amazing experience and I have entered this year to try and get through to the nationals again."

 >>>Related; North West Young Chef crowns its first female winner

How do you feel about being the only female chef in the competition? 

"I am proud to be the only female but it makes me wonder why I am the only female, it’s a very male-dominated industry I believe especially in kitchens, but that’s never really affected me directly."

Where do you see yourself in five years?

"My future plans change quite often and I always want to do something different, but something that definitely doesn’t change is I see myself travelling and working in different countries and learning different cultures and techniques from the best around the world, and maybe still competing in some of the best competitions in the world. But then there is also staying in Liverpool and doing the best I can for the city I love."

Cyril Gabriel North West Young Chef of the Year 2017 finalist
Cyril Gabriel

Name: Cyril Gabriel

Age: 22

Place of work: Carden Park Hotel 

Position: Senior chef de partie 

Bio: Cyril is a senior chef de partie at Carden Park Hotel where he has worked for one and a half years. Carden Park is Cyril's first job in a professional kitchen before which he was studying at Limoges Jean Monet catering school in France.  

What made you want to become a chef?

"Watching my mum cooking at home really got me interested in all the good smelling food in my home kitchen."

Why did you want to take part in North West Chef of the Year?

"New experiences and to challenge myself and my knowledge."

Where do you see yourself in five years?

"I don’t really know, anything can happen. Just take life how it is going and see what can happen for my career."

Thomas Reeves
Tom Reeves

Name: Tom Reeves

Age: 22

Place of Work: L’Enclume

Position: Chef de partie

Bio: Tom started working at Wynyard Golf Club when he was 14 with Masterchef contestant David Coulson for three years. Then he went to Wynyard Hall for two years, before he left to work with David again at Peace & Loaf, holding two Rosettes from the AA Restaurant Guide.

>>> Related: 10 Minutes With: David Coulson, Peace & Loaf

Tom moved to L’Enclume, holding two Michelin stars and five AA rosettes, two years ago as a demi chef, and now he is a chef de partie.

What made you want to become a chef?

"I’ve always liked food and I like eating, as well. I used to watch TV as a child, and it just looked like a good career to get into."

Why did you want to take part in the North West Young Chef Competition?

"I wanted to test myself against the other chefs. It’s a new challenge, and good to learn different, new techniques."

Where do you see yourself in five years?

"I’d like to have my own restaurant. There’s quite a lot I’m learning now where I am at L’Enclume and I learn a lot here at the North West Young Chef competition as well."

Ryan Lee
Ryan Lee

Name: Ryan Lee

Age: 21

Place of Work: Rothay Manor

Position: Junior sous chef

Bio: Ryan started in Derbyshire at the Peak Edge Hotel as an apprentice, then a chef de partie. There, he met head chef Brandon Shepherd, and now he's still working with him at Rothay Manor as junior sous chef.

What made you want to become a chef?

"I did a lot of cooking and baking at school, and at 16, I just went into an apprenticeship straight away. But I’d been working at a hotel since I was 13."

Why did you want to take part in the North West Young Chef Competition?

"I did it last year but I messed up in the final last year so I just wanted to do it again this year."

Where do you see yourself in five years?

"Probably elsewhere, be my own boss. I did my own dishes yesterday and everyone seemed to like them at the semi-finals. Perhaps I’d like to do more of that, and get more recognition."

Kieran Gill
Kieran Gill

Name: Kieran Gill

Age: 22

Place of Work: The Art School Restaurant

Position: Demi chef de partie

Bio: Kieran was born and raised in Liverpool, where he did quite well in school. When it was time for him to stay on for sixth form and university, Kieran decided to pursue his passion and leave for catering college. He went through 3 years of college at The City of Liverpool College. Kieran moved to The Art School in July 2015 just a month after he left college and fell in love with the food and work straight away. Unlike any other kitchen he’s worked in, Kieran feels The Art School is a really good environment for young chefs to come into and grow.

What made you want to become a chef?

"I was never the most gifted cook when I was growing up. From when I was about 10 until I got to college, me and my mum would always watch cooking shows and it never left me. Our favourite was always Great British Menu and we always used to talk about me being able to cook and present food like that one day. Now, luckily, I'm in an environment were my childhood goals are becoming reality."

Why did you want to take part in the North West Young Chef Competition?

"I wanted to test myself and prove to myself that I can compete with the best young chefs here."

Where do you see yourself in five years?

"In five years, I can see one of two things happening. I might be in a higher rank in The Art School, trying to help Liverpool, my home city that I've never left and love so much, win its first Michelin star. I think it would be a magical feeling to be a part of Liverpool’s Michelin star winning team if it ever happens; it is a dream of mine. However, I do want to travel and I do want to work in some of the best kitchens in this country and maybe abroad so if anytime in the next 5 years an opportunity comes up, I’d be lying if I said I wouldn't take it with both hands."

Mai Trising
Mai Trising

Name: Mai Trising

Age: 21

Place of Work: The Black Swan, Ravenstonedale

Position: Sous chef

What made you want to become a chef?

"I began working at The Black Swan at the age of 13. Whilst pot-washing, I started to understand how a kitchen worked and I was intrigued. I continued to work hard and finally got the chance to prove myself as a cook. Now, I am enjoying taking all responsibility for running the kitchen I first started in. It has been natural progression mixed with my own interests that turned me into a chef and I intend to keep improving."

Why did you want to take part in the North West Young Chef Competition?

"I was encouraged to enter the competition by my recently appointed head chef Scott Fairweather, who has always supported the NWYC. I am very glad I had the courage to enter, it allowed me to understand what level I am cooking at in comparison with chefs of the same age and build confidence in my own ability."

Where do you see yourself in five years?

"Initially, I plan to step up into my new sous chef role and learn how to run the kitchen to a very high standard. The competition has enabled me to work closely with my head chef which has helped to form an understanding of what is expected of me. Within the next 5 years I would like to continue my own personal development, in both cooking and the management side of a kitchen. I am keen to learn about all aspects of the food and drink trade, which I’m sure will help me achieve my ultimate goal: owning a restaurant."

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 22nd May 2017

Meet the North West Young Chef of the Year 2017 finalists