Essential  Cuisine

Essential Cuisine

Premium Supplier 9th July 2012


It’s been a whole decade since British Master Chef Brian Mellor stepped in to save the only competition for young chefs in his home region, completely revamping it to create North West Young Chef, further inspired by the sheer amount of fantastic produce on his doorstep.
Celebrating the milestone, this year’s showdown between chefs from the five counties - Greater Manchester, Lancashire, Merseyside, Cheshire and Cumbria – was won by Lewis Gallagher from Grill on the Hill at Stanley House, Mellor, automatically earning him a place in Autumn’s The National Young Chef of the Year, organised by the Craft Guild of Chefs.
Lewis began his winning feast with a ravioli of Yellison’s goats cheese with Cumbrian air-dried ham cannelloni and Ormskirk onions, the starter he made at the county heat, followed by a main of ‘Journeyed’ port of Lancaster eel (Smoked) with Lancashire Waldorf salad and foie gras.
To complete his trio of stunning dishes, the passionate chef served up a dessert of mille Feuille of chef’s foraged wild strawberries with Ann Forshaw’s lemon yoghurt mousse.
On winning, the 21 year-old, who also made the final last year, said: “I feel on top of the world. I was waking up each morning thinking about the dishes I was going to cook, but all those weeks of worrying paid off. There’s always room for improvement, though, and I’ve taken on board the judges’ feedback to prepare for The National Young Chef of the Year later this year.”
As winner of this year’s competition, Lewis, who intends to spend the next five years ‘learning and progressing’, not only automatically qualified for The National Young Chef of the Year, he received a week stage at a top European restaurant and a set of professional chef’s knives.
Brian Mellor said it was no mean feat impressing this year’s North West Young Chef judges; Aiden Byrne, the youngest chef to win a Michelin star, David McLaughlin, head chef at the Michelin-starred restaurant at Lake District hotel Holbeck Ghyll, Stephen Doherty, chairman of judges for the Gordon Ramsay Scholarship, and acclaimed chef and consultant Max Gnoyke.
“The judges are always a tough bunch to please, but I would say that, over the 10 years of this competition, I have seen the quality of the competitors grow and grow. As judges, we’re not there to trip anyone up, we’re there to help young chefs develop their skills and confidence, to help them on the journey from being good chefs to becoming great chefs.
“It was extremely encouraging to hear that all five finalists from the very first year of North West Young Chef are still in the profession and have achieved great things in their careers.”
As evidence of this, the first five finalists included Steve Smith, now chef patron at Freemasons in the Lancashire village of Wiswell, ranked in the top 15 gastropubs in the UK and on course for a Michelin star, and Scott Price, who became one of Gordon Ramsay’s right hand men and is now executive chef at the TV chef’s acclaimed restaurant at the Dubai Hilton. 
North West Young Chef is supported by expert stockmaker Essential Cuisine, run by Dorchester-trained chef Nigel Crane, who not only sits on the judging panel at the county heats, but remains on hand throughout the competition for advice and guidance.
To enter North West Young Chef 2013, you must be aged 23 or under and work in the region. If you make it to one of the five county heats, you will be tasked with cooking a three-course meal for two using North West, seasonal produce costing up to £25, a challenge that has produced some spectacular results over the last few years.
For more information, call 01606 541490 or visit There is also a Facebook page and you can follow events on Twitter (@NWYoungChefComp).

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