WIRRAL CHEF OF THE YEAR: Will it be second time lucky for Rob Bryson from the Anchor Inn?
WILL this year’s Wirral Chef of the Year contest prove to be second time lucky for Rob Bryson?
The Anchor Inn head chef last took part in our culinary competition back in 2008, when he was head chef at Sheldrakes in Lower Heswall.
This time around the 25-year-old will have to impress top chefs Paul Askew and Claire Lara, in a cook-off, as well as Wirral News readers.
But, having taken part in six previous cook-offs before, he’s hoping his experience will help him cook up victory.
Rob, from Wallasey Village, said: “Last time I thought I could have done better with the menu but that always happens and you get stronger with every competition you do.
“I’m looking forward to the cook-off. I entered a few at Sheldrakes and it’s hard, you’ve got to be organised .
“People think you can just go in and do everything on the day but you’ve got to have a schedule in place. Then you’ve got the pressure of the judges looking round so you get a bit nervous about that.
“But I enjoy them. It’s a stressful day – but a different kind of stress to a busy service.”
Rob grew up in Irby and had one of his first pub drinks at the Anchor when it was an Ember Inn.
After leaving Pensby High School at 16, he learned the basics of his trade on a two-year apprenticeship at the Kings Gap in Hoylake.
He moved on to the restaurant at the Maritime Museum in Liverpool for a year before starting at Sheldrakes as sous chef.
Three months later, he was given the top job – and he credits the birth of his daughter Niaya, now six, for giving him the push he needed to progress in his career.
He recalled: “I was pretty young when my daughter was born but it gave me the focus to develop quickly.
“The head chef at Sheldrakes left suddenly so I did the job and thrived on it. It was only temporary at first but I ended up being head chef there for five years.
Last October Rob was appointed as head chef at the Anchor Inn when it became a gastro pub.
He says one of the most rewarding parts of the job has been the opportunity to build up his team and give inexperienced members of the kitchen staff new skills.
Every chef in this year’s competition must serve one vegetarian course and Rob’s dish is a sweetcorn, brie, damson chutney risotto cake.
He said: “I wanted to do a dish that vegetarians would be excited by and something that’s a bit different – it’s risotto but it’s encased and inside is the brie and the chutney.
WIRRAL Chef of the Year at the Anchor Inn takes place on the evening of Tuesday, September 13, from 6.30pm.
The cost of a three-course meal is £18.95. To book, call 648 1698
Wirral Chef of the Year is supported by Wirral Council, Liverpool Community College, Wirral Met College and Wirral Farmers Market.