Matthew Nicholls of Cheal's of Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire, has been crowned the winner of the British Culinary Federation's Young Chef of the Year 2018 competition at an awards ceremony at University College Birmingham.
Competing for the fourth time, Nicholls impressed the judges with his menu comprising: Chadwick Farm duck egg yolk, celeriac, pearl barley, Wiltshire truffle, sour dough and wood sorrel, followed by Shropshire rabbit, Scottish langoustine, cauliflower, curry, parsley and yeast, finishing with a dessert of toasted almond panacotta, blackberries, frozen lemon yogurt, toasted oats and lemon balm.
Millie Tibbins of University College Birmingham was runner-up, while Ben Cowley of Michelin-starred Simpson's restaurant, Edgbaston, Birmingham, came third.
Megan Carter from the Red Lion, Bradley, Staffordshire, picked up the award for best starter; best main course went to Matthew Nicholls, with Jacob Major of Michelin-starred the Manor House, Castle Coombe, Wiltshire winning the award for the best dessert.
petitors were required to produce a three-course menu for two covers in two hours. The first course had to be suitable for vegetarians and competitors had to use at least one product from Major International in their menu.
Louis O'Hara, Cliveden House, Taplow, Berkshire
Amrita Phull, Buckland Manor, Broadway, Worcestershire
Jacob Major,The Manor House Hotel and Golf Club, Chippenham, Wiltshire
Ben Cowley, Simpson's restaurant, Edgbaston
Megan Connor, The Red Lion, Bradley, Staffordshire
Harvey Perttola, Swinfen Hall, Lichfield, Staffordshire
Adam Shohet, Portland Restaurant, London
Monty Stonehewer, Hampton Manor, Warwickshire
Theo Hadjitofi, De Banke Group, Solihull
Matthew Nicholls, Cheal's of Henley, Warwickshire
Rhys McCausland, Houses of Parliament, London
James Prout, The Wild Rabbit, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire
Millie Tibbins, University College Birmingham
Callum Wood, North Warwickshire and Hinckley College
Sam King, The Ritz, London
Fraser Cooper, Devonshire Arms Country House Hotel, Bolton Abbey, North Yorkshire
Katie Cooper, Carter's of Moseley, Birmingham
Enrique Diez, The Frog at Hoxton, London
As well as receiving the David Bache Trophy, Nicholls was presented with a cheque for £500, commemorative plate, framed certificate, a special dispenser presented by Wrapmaster, a personalised chef's jacket sponsored by CCS, an invitation to a celebration lunch, courtesy of Villeroy & Boch, plus automatic seeding into the National Young Chef of the Year 2019.
Judges this year were: Adam Smith, executive chef, Coworth Park, Berkshire; BCF chairman Stuart McLeod, chef director, Zuidam Ltd; Peter Joyner, Food development director, Elior; Nick Vadis, culinary director, Compass Group UK & Ireland; Giovanni Di Vito, assistant dean, College of Food, University College Birmingham; Tom Phillips, sous chef, Restaurant Story, London and Bocuse d'Or UK candidate 2019 and David Colcombe, chef consultant and visiting professor, UCB.