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Claire Lara's apprentice Greg competes for Young Chef of the Year

15th November 2012

Categories: News

From Wirral News

Move over Masterchef – Greg Lockwood is here!

Just 10 months into his job at the Riverhill Hotel in Oxton, the 21-year-old wowed Wirral News readers at last week’s second Wirral Young Chef of the Year night.

Upton-born Greg, who is apprentice to top Wirral chef (and former Masterchef: The Professionals winner) Claire Lara and her husband Marc, admitted he had to overcome a few nerves along the way.

But he says the reaction from diners was the icing on the cake.

He said: “I was very busy the day before and I had to get the lamb on ready for the night. It feels like a lot of weight off my shoulders.

“It’s difficult to tell what the reviews will be like because of the pressure in the kitchen and I’m so made up everyone enjoyed it.”

He smiled: “By coming out and talking to people, seeing how happy they were with the food, it really makes the hard work in the kitchen worthwhile.”

Greg kept things simple for his first taste of competition cooking, starting with grilled mackerel before a main course of 24-hour braised sticky lamb shoulder.

His sweet was a winter warmer of cider-poached apples with lightly spiced sponge, caramel custard and chestnut praline.

Diners praised the tenderness of Greg’s lamb and the mix of textures in his starter, which had both soft and crispy slices of beetroot.

Lilian Harris was dining with Audrey Evans, Margaret Evans and Margaret Lea.

She said: “The starter was lovely and the mackerel was beautiful – it was very tasty. He’d done two different beetroots and that was nice.

“The lamb just fell away from the bone.”

Helen and Henry Hayes, from Pensby, said they “enjoyed it all”.

Mr Hayes said: “Overall it was very, very good. The lamb was succulent and tender. It was just right.”

Boss Claire said her apprentice had “definitely stepped up to the mark”.

She said: “ I think he’s got massive potential and he’s definitely one to watch in the future.

“He’s only been cooking for 10 months and to be responsible for the kitchen for one night is immense pressure.

“I couldn’t have asked for more.”

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