Daniela Tucci, a chef from the Art School in Merseyside, has been named Essential Cuisine's North West Young Chef of the Year, beating five other chefs in a live cook-off.
The first female to win the competition, the 19-year-old impressed the judges during a final two-and-a-half-hour trial held yesterday at Manchester College.
Tucci's winning menu consisted of Claremont Farm asparagus, poached egg and classic Hollandaise sauce starter; Callum's Blackface Suffolk Lamb with spring cabbage parcel, caramelised onion purée, heritage carrots, peas and beets main; and a dessert of wild strawberry basket with basil, Two Cathedrals honey and balsamic.
Daniela Tucci's dessert
Tucci added: "I feel so happy! I came today with the attitude as long as I do my best I really didn't mind the outcome, but to win is amazing. It was probably the most stressed I have ever been in my life, but it was all worth it."
She also paid tribute to the Art School proprietor Paul Askew, and her mentor at the City of Liverpool College, Siobhan Sweet, for their "time, help and support" throughout the process.
Alongside the title, Tucci receives £500 and an automatic qualification into the semi-finals of the Craft Guild of Chefs' Young National Chef of the Year competition, where she will square off against the best young chefs from the rest of the country.
- Winner: Daniela Tucci, 19, from the Art School Restaurant
- Runner-up: Steven Halligan, 22, from Mr Cooper's House & Garden at the Midland hotel
- Liam Anderson, 19, from Freemasons at Wiswell
- Krzysztof Borowiak, 22, from YU Alderley Edge
- Michael Burgess, 17, from Albright Hussey Manor hotel
- Ryan Lee, 20, from Rothay Manor
Are you looking for a new role? See all the current hospitality vacancies available with The CatererFONT >>
Latest video from The Caterer