The six best young chefs in the North West of England are gearing up to do battle against one and other as the finals of North West Young Chef competition reach their stunning climax.
Each young charge has emerged victorious from regional cook-offs, held across the past two months, in the counties of Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Cumbria, Merseyside and, for the first time in the competition's 12-year history, Flintshire.
Finalists in full:
• Lancashire: Daniel Young, 20, Northcote Manor, Trough of Bowland
• Greater Manchester: Steven Halligan, 20, Room Restaurant, Manchester
• Cheshire: Ben Costello, 20, The Chester Grosvenor, Chester
• Cumbria: Sam Nash, 21, L'Enclume, Cartmel
• Merseyside: Daniel Heffy, 20, The Arts School, Liverpool
• Flintshire: Cara Maguire, 18, The Tavern, Mold
The six finalists are now on course to meet in the June 18th grand final held at Manchester College, where, just as in the heats, they will be charged with producing a three-course meal for two with an emphasis on local and seasonal produce.
Essential Cuisine Managing Director and part of the judging team, Nigel Crane, comments: "Congratulations to our six young finalists. In 12 years of competition we have seen an unprecedented rise in standards and I'm delighted to say that each of them has helped raise the bar yet again, showing such talent and coolness under pressure for ones so young. I greatly look forward to seeing them cook again in June where competition is sure to be fierce."
As county heat winners, the young chefs will also get to attend an exclusive masterclass with an Aiden Byrne at The Manchester House Restaurant.
Each will get the chance to hone their skills ahead of the competition under the watchful eye of Byrne, the youngest chef to ever be awarded a Michelin star, and will be rewarded with lunch at the Chefs Table.