Sam Mairs named Cheshire Young Chef of the Year 2013

Cheshire Winner Sam Mairs from Grill on the Square in Warrington

Cheshire Winner Sam Mairs from Grill on the Square in Warrington - Credit: Archant

Stand by to salivate. Sam Mairs from The Grill on the Square, Warrington, is one of the front-runners for the North West Young Chef of the Year award, along with Sam Palmer from Abode. Photography by John Cocks

Cooking doesn’t get much tougher than this. Yes, the quest for North West Young Chef of the Year is on – a culinary assault course in which Sam Mairs is a frontrunner.

For Sam, a sous chef from the Grill on the Square in Warrington has been declared Cheshire Young Chef of the Year after a two-and-a-half hour cook-off at South Cheshire College.

Stand by to salivate as we tell you how he did it: a starter of boudin of Goosnargh corn-fed chicken with asparagus, wild mushrooms, morel and white wine sauce, a main course of butter-poached Muncaster lobster with tempura claw, spring veg and Cheshire cheese sauce and a pud of Willington Farm Cox apple tarte tatin.

‘I didn’t think I had a chance of winning,’ says Sam. ‘I saw the other competitors’ dishes coming past me to be served and thought they all looked really good.’

Those other young chefs providing stiff competition were Ben Field of The Bear’s Paw, Warmingham, Jack Mullen of Belle Epoque, Knutsford, Joseph Jones of Carden Park Hotel, Chester, and Nigel Hankey of Red House Brasserie, Cheshire Oaks.

The judges were Brian Mellor, founder of the competition, managing director of Essential Cuisine Nigel Crane and Marcus Bean, TV celebrity chef and owner of The New Inn at Baschurch in Shrewsbury.

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Another front-runner for the regional honour is Sam Palmer from Abode Hotel, Piccadilly, Manchester, who won the Greater Manchester Young Chef of the Year title with a meal which included butter-roasted Fleetwood cod with garlic puree, fricassee of peas and crisp Goosnargh chicken wings.

The competition, sponsored by Essential Cuisine, is open to chefs under 23, who must cook a three-course meal for two people for up to £25, using local and seasonal produce. Winners of the five heats in Cumbria, Cheshire, Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside compete in the final on June 13 at the Manchester College in Didsbury.

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