Edwin Kuk has been described by judges as having a phenomenal work ethic and was praised for having set himself a huge challenge to execute detailed dishes containing numerous components.

Edwin won judges over with a mix of skill and calmness under pressure to see off the advances of five other highly touted young chefs in a tense final held yesterday at Cheshire College – South and West.

Jan Vrancken, 21 of The Cartford Inn, Preston was awarded runner-up.

The competition calls on young chefs to create a three-course menu for two with seasonality at its heart. Edwin’s winning three-course menu consisted of: New season Formby asparagus with free range poached egg and a classic hollandaise, a main course of Assiette of Goonsnargh cornfed chicken with pan roasted breast, glazed wing and a confit leg pithivier accompanied with new season baby vegetables, morelles and chicken jus and a Hooton strawberry tart with crème diplomat, elderflower jelly, brandy snap and granola.

On the win Edwin said: “Words can’t explain it – I’m so happy, I’ve not stopped smiling. In the semi-final, I prepared a souffle with ice-cream, but I knew it was risky – it’s a dish dependent on temperature and equipment so I changed my dessert for the final and it paid off. I want to say thanks to my mentor Paul Askew, my colleague and fellow finalist Bethan and the whole brigade at the Art School. Next is to win the Nationals! I have faith I can do the North West proud.”

The finalists in full;

Edwin Kuk, 21, Senior Chef de Partie, The Art School, Liverpool

Jan Vrancken, 21, Chef de Partie, The Cartford Inn, Preston

Bethan Disley-Jones, 17, Apprentice Pastry Chef, The Art School, Liverpool

Adam Green, 21, Commis Chef, Twelve Restaurant and Lounge Bar, Lancashire

Sean Anthony-Noonan, 24, Head Chef, Griffin Inn, Eccleston

Oliver Fitton-Thomas, 22, Sous Chef, The Ryebeck Hotel, Bowness-on-Windermere

Alongside the coveted title and a Robert Welch Signature knife, Edwin scoops an automatic seed into the prestigious Young National Chef of the Year semi-final, plus £500, a weekend for two at Cheshire’s The Mere Golf Resort & Spa, and £100 Fazenda gift voucher. 

Executive judge, Brian Mellor had this to say: “It’s been a tough competition, the hardest we’ve judged by far, but it was Edwin’s passion, incredible skills and perfect execution that stood out. That fierce determination and talent is incredible to witness – we can’t wait to see it again from Edwin come the national semi-finals.”

The 2019 judging team includes Jonathan Harvey-Barnes, Senior Development Chef from Essential Cuisine, Steven Doherty of the English Lakes Culinary Academy, Matt Davies of the British Culinary Federation plus BBC Great British Menu stars, Craig Sherrington, and Ellis Barrie, chef and co-owner, The Marram Grass, Anglesey.

Robert Welch Designs are very proud to be able to support the competition again this year. We very much look forward to doing so again in 2020. Also supporting the competition and the young chefs are industry supporters, Lancashire Life, The Staff Canteen, Robinsons Brewery, Robert Welch, Oliver Harvey, Villeroy and Boch, RD Wines, The Mere, and Fazenda. Headline sponsors were Essential Cuisine, CHR and Sousvide.