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Irby Mill delivers 'a masterclass in flavour' for Wirral Young Chef Competition

23rd March 2015

Categories: News

Robert Wood, head chef, Irby Mill
Irby Mill, Wirral Young Chef competition

‘Head Chef Rob Wood delivers a masterclass in flavour and texture as The Irby Mill hosts the final restaurant event of this year’s Wirral Young Chef of the Year competition’

There is often, around the notion of the perfect restaurant, a fantasy commonly held that to be successful it has to be located on a high street in a busy town centre or be named after an exotic vegetable or perhaps be part of a trendy gastro chain…………thankfully this isn’t necessarily the case! Sometimes you need to travel out of town to somewhere like the Irby Mill in Greasby to experience quality unpretentious food, in welcoming surroundings, served by attentive staff, all working together to provide the diner with some happy memories, and in this case to support Head Chef Rob Wood in his quest to become this year’s Wirral Young Chef of the Year!
This was to be the final restaurant based event before the cook off takes place at Wirral Metropolitan College on Monday 30th March, and Rob didn’t disappoint with a well constructed menu packed with flavour and texture combinations clearly demonstrating that Rob and his team had a real sense of commitment to this year’s competition.
We began the meal with smoked cod loin wrapped in prosciutto with chorizo, local wilted kale and a white wine and lemon dressing. This first course gave us a glimpse of Rob’s ability to understand the importance of texture, serving soft, perfectly cooked cod alongside crisp lardons of chorizo with a zesty white wine and lemon dressing to bring everything together….a perfect start!
And so on to the main course. Occasionally a plate of food comes along that forces you to pause, reflect and simply admire just how well a dish has been put together, and Rob’s venison steak served with Lower Heswall honey glazed carrots, roasted parsnip purée,  dauphinoise potatoes and port jus turned out to epitomise such a dish!  The venison (sourced from Tatton park in Cheshire) was beautifully pink in the middle, packed with flavour and possessed a ‘melt in the mouth’ quality that was simply outstanding! The carrots and parsnip purée added a lusciously sweet dimension to the dish whilst the dauphinoise potatoes would sit comfortably at the top of the premier league of dauphinoise potatoes…..if such a league existed! Myself and my fellow diners all agreed that this dish displayed a real marriage of culinary technique, huge flavour and balance and a real desire to make you want to remember this dish for a very long time……and we will!
To finish we were served a beautifully light caramel and dark chocolate fudge cake, accompanied by a cooling vanilla ice cream on a crumb base that made sure that the theme of flavour and texture continued right up to the end of the meal.
So, six more than satisfied diners left the Irby Mill with some fond dining memories, not only related to the quality of the food, but also the excellent descriptions of the locally sourced ingredients provided by the friendly and efficient front of house team, and a real sense of community that the Irby Mill clearly has to offer to both drinker and diner.
We wish Rob and the other finalists the best of luck at the cook off on Monday March 30th at Wirral Metropolitan College.
Tony Boustead (College Manager for Hospitality and Catering-Wirral Metropolitan College)

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