This year’s Wirral Young Chef of the Year winner was crowned at the dazzling Wirral Tourism Awards ceremony at the Floral Pavilion.

James Ryan from The Marsh Cat, in Parkgate, took this year’s award after being a finalist in last year’s competition. James produced a range of impressive meals throughout the competition which saw him win the title. 

The Wirral Young Chef of the Year competition is a celebration of the best young chefs in Wirral. Wirral Met College has been committed to searching for contestants to showcase their amazing skills for many years, and hosts the second part of the competition in their dedicated training kitchen.

During a six month period, the young chefs created a set menu using locally and regionally produced ingredients and held special evenings in their restaurants. The public were asked to attend and vote on the quality, presentation, originality and use of ingredients of the meal. Finalists were then invited to take part in a cook off at Wirral Met College, and both scores were added together to produce an overall winner. Previous Wirral Met students and renowned industry ambassadors, Paul Askew and John Hollywood were judging the cook off. James was the highest scoring chef from the restaurant evening and cook off and was therefore presented with the much-coveted Wirral Young Chef of the Year award at the Wirral Tourism Awards event.

Our commiserations go to the other contestants who provided stiff competition, including Jamie Macmahon from Ellie’s Bistro in Greasby, Dean Ferguson from Claremont Farm Café, Marcin Sielski from Riviera Restaurant at The Leverhulme Hotel and Ellie Fletcher from The Riviera Restaurant at the Hillbark Hotel (unfortunately, Ellie was unable to take part in the cook off).

James has been working as a chef at The Marsh Cat for the past two and a half years, he commented, “I really did not expect to win, I am truly honoured to have received the award. It was a very tough competition this year against some very worthy opponents. I take away from it greater organisational skills and the drive to achieve my full potential, and I would like to thank everyone who supported me throughout the competition”.

Wirral Met College provides a variety of catering and hospitality courses and apprenticeships for students to develop their skills and experience to help them progress into their careers. As well as gaining professional qualifications, taking part in national competitions and exciting work experience placements, students work lunchtimes and evenings in the college’s prestigious training restaurant – The Birches, at the Conway Park Campus in Birkenhead. This helps them gain real work experience which they can take to any job in the industry.

In addition to full-time catering and hospitality courses and apprenticeship programmes, Wirral Met College offers part-time courses in cake decoration, food allergen awareness, food safety in catering, food preparation and cooking and supervising food safety in catering 

For more information on these courses or any courses available Wirral Met, speak to a Student Adviser who will provide impartial information, advice and guidance – just call 0151 551 7777. They are available for drop in sessions at our Conway Park Campus (students aged 16-18 and existing students), Monday – Friday, 10am – 4pm and late evening until 6.30pm. For adults aged 19 and over, the National Careers Service offers an appointment service at our Conway Park Campus on Monday, 10am-5pm, Thursday, 10am-6.30pm and Friday, 10am-5pm – to book an appointment call 0151 551 7777.


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