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L’Enclume’s Thomas Reeves wins 2017 North West Young Chef Competition

PUBLISHED: 00:00 05 July 2017

Thomas Reeves, Mai Trising, Cyril Gabriel, Ryan Lee, Kieran Gill and Daniela Tucci

Thomas Reeves, Mai Trising, Cyril Gabriel, Ryan Lee, Kieran Gill and Daniela Tucci

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A Lake District chef took the top prize at this year’s North West Young Chef Competition

Thomas Reeves Thomas Reeves

He’s a 22-year-old chef working at one of the country’s most renowned Michelin star restaurants. It is unsurprising, then, that Thomas Reeves, a junior chef at Cartmel’s L’Enclume, kept a cool head to see off competition from five other worthy competitors at the North West Young Chef Competition.

Thomas took the top spot ahead of regional contenders including last year’s winner, Daniela Tucci, who came second this time around, along with Ryan Lee from Ambleside’s Rothay Manor, Mai Trising from The Black Swan in Kirkby Stephen and another promising talent from The Art School, Kieran GillChester-based Cyril Gabriel. Judges at the event, organised by Essential Cuisine, included British Culinary Federation Chairman, Matt Davies, ex-Le Gavroche head chef, Steven Doherty, award winning-chef, Mary-Ellen McTague and Master Chef of Great Britain, Brian Mellor. They praised Thomas for his focus, consistency and superior marriage of modern and traditional techniques and said he was ‘the best yet’ in the history of the competition.

Thomas impressed the panel with three courses of asparagus, poached egg and hollandaise, a main of lamb short saddle, baby artichokes, black garlic and potato and a strawberries, buttermilk, apple marigold and hazelnut dessert during the live cook off held at Manchester College.

Thomas, who was quick to praise L’Enclume head chef and mentor Tom Barnes, said: ‘It’s unbelievable and so exciting. I knew I had a chance of getting to the final but never thought I’d win.

‘I just tried to focus on my cooking and keep my head down.’

As well as the coveted title, he will receive £500 and entry into the semi-finals of the Craft Guild of Chefs’ Young National Chef of the Year competition, where he will cook off against the best young chefs from the rest of the country.

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