WILL the fighting spirit of the Vikings take Wro Lounge chef Alex Rickards to Wirral Young Chef Of The Year victory?
The sous chef at the West Kirby restaurant – wro is Norse for “corner” – is the fourth finalist in our culinary contest and the first for 2013.
Alex, 24, from Heswall, started his chefing career at the very bottom, washing dishes in a part-time job while he was at Pensby High School.
He left school after his GCSEs and took on various chefing jobs at local eateries, including the Jug And Bottle in Heswall.
Following a brief spell in retail, he returned to the kitchens and started work at the Wro Lounge just over three years ago.
Alex is following in the footsteps of his brother James, who is also a chef, and spent a summer in Jersey working with him.
Eventually he says he hopes to work alongside his brother, possibly in their own restaurant.
He said: “I was inspired by him. I went to Jersey and that’s where I started getting into it properly.
“I had a break from chefing but I thought that ‘if there’s something you’re good at why stop?’ and I got back into it.
“I like my job – I cook and taste food all day! I work with nice ingredients and create new things and I get quite a bit of input into the menus.”
The dedicated chef jokes that in his busy job, he doesn’t have time for hobbies, but says he spends time out of work walking his dog Hugo.
The three courses Alex has created for Wirral Young Chef Of The Year all have an Italian flavour.
He said: “I realised yesterday that they’re all Italian with a twist and it’s all seasonal.
“It’s not overly complicated and I like food that’s simple and fresh.
“I hope the competition will be a good stepping stone for me. It’s about taking part but I would like to win.”
l WIRRAL Young Chef Of The Year – supported by Wirral Council, Liverpool Community College and Wirral Met College – is on Tuesday, January 8 at the Wro Lounge in Grange Road, West Kirby.
The cost of the three-course meal is £18.95. To book call 625 2010.