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Jamie at Hillbark to compete in Wirral Young Chef Competition

23rd November 2012

Categories: News

Will carrots and Christmas prove a winning combination for Jamie Phythian?

The 22-year-old apprentice at the Hillbark Hotel in Frankby will step into the spotlight for Wirral Young Chef Of The Year on December 4, just six months after he started training.

Jamie, from Oxton, says his choice of food will be suitably seasonal – and he admits his unusual carrot tatin dessert could be a talking point for diners.

He said: “I like to impress people and I like to see their faces when they taste good food.

“When they see carrot tatin they’ll wonder straightaway if it’s going to be nice. I want to show them that you can try something different and make it into something very nice.

“I want them to taste it and be gobsmacked.”

After leaving Oldershaw School in Wallasey at 16, Jamie joined the Army and served with the Parachute Regiment in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He left military life behind last year and started to look for an apprenticeship, eventually landing a place at the De Vere Academy of Hospitality based at Tranmere Rovers FC.

His hard work and dedication at the start of his 12-month apprenticeship won him his placement at the Hillbark Hotel.

“After I left the Army I wanted to get a proper trade,” he says. “I was in and out of jobs, looking for the right one, then I found this.

“The tutors noticed I was standing out in college. I always put 100% into everything I do and I’m really passionate about it. I can see myself doing this for the rest of my life.”

After eight weeks at the Academy, Jamie arrived at the Hillbark Hotel this summer – just in time for wedding season.

He spent two months working with executive chef Stewart Warner and is currently learning his trade from chef Ashley Moran at the Hillbark Grill.

As well as Wirral Young Chef Of The Year, Jamie has also made it to the finals of the De Vere Academy’s Chef Of The Year contest, a national competition for apprentices.

He said: “All the people here are really friendly and help you as much as they can. They’re teaching me everything, from the basics to more intricate things – there’s too much to list.

“We’ve been constantly busy doing weddings and functions but when we have time Ashley allows me to come up with new ideas.

“Maybe some of these dishes will end up on the winter menu!”

Before they get to that carrot tatin, diners will enjoy a starter of quail and main course of pork and apple.

“I wanted to keep it seasonal,” Jamie says. “People have pork and apple at Christmas and quail is also a wintery dish. The dessert has cloves, cardamin and cinnamon.

“I said ‘yes’ to doing the competition straight away. I want to be the best I can be.

“When I came here I just got stuck into it. I’ve come on in leaps and bounds and I’m more confident in myself. This is my focus and I put everything into it.”

Wirral Young Chef Of The Year – supported by Wirral Council, Liverpool Community College and Wirral Met College – is on Tuesday, December 4 at the Hillbark Grill at the Hillbark Hotel in Frankby. The cost of the three-course meal is £18.95. To book call 625 2400.

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