A KNUTSFORD chef has been named as the fourth best young chef in the country following success at a national competition.

Luke McMenamay-Collins, returned to Knutsford’s Belle Époque restaurant last week after being placed fourth in the Young Master Chef of the Year competition, which took place at the Westminster Kingsway College in London.

This nationally recognised event, staged every year by the Master Chefs of Great Britain and sponsored by Villeroy & Boch, is designed to allow young chefs aged 23 and under to showcase their abilities.

Finalists were tasked to produce a three-course meal using a number of set ingredients, whilst testing their skills and giving them the opportunity to put their own flair and imagination into the dishes.

With a two and a half hour timescale, each entrant was judged on presentation, innovation, hygiene, professionalism, working method, timing and originality with points deducted for wastage.

In a fiercely competitive final, Luke, who is originally from Australia, impressed the judges with a delicious menu that started with seared scallops served with an onion puree, smoked onion consommé and confit chicken wing and was followed by rack of lamb, braised puy lentils & turned potatoes with a tomato puree jus.

To finish Luke served honey pannacotta with a yoghurt sorbet & honeycomb.

Speaking of Luke’s success, Matthew Mooney, proprietor and managing director of The Belle Époque, said: "We are incredibly proud of Luke.

"We are lucky enough to witness his flair and considerable talent every day but it’s great that this is being recognised on the national stage, and even better that people in Knutsford get to enjoy it too."

With 1,123 entrants, just six made it through to the final with Andrew Forbes of Gleneagles taking the 2015 title. So fierce was the competition this year that judges have decided to implement an additional semi-final stage in 2016.

Keen to return in 2016, 21-year-old Luke said: ‘I really enjoyed this years competition; it’s been a fabulous opportunity. With a year to further excel and the support of the team at The Belle Époque, I’ll be back next year for the title!’

Luke’s menu will be available for a limited time at the Belle Époque, King Street, Knutsford. Visit thebelleepoque.co.uk for details or call 01565 633060.