WHEN the first night of the search for 2014’s Wirral Young Chef of the Year gets under way it will bring back memories for James Murphy.
The 23-year-old junior sous chef at Marco’s in the Holiday Inn Express, Hoylake, has been a background player in past competitions when his kitchen colleagues were bidding for the prize but this time around he can’t wait to be centre stage.
The former Pensby High School student said: “I have followed this competition before. We had Chris Rock from here, back when it was called Frankie’s, competing last year and when I was worked in the Portrait House in Hoylake (home to reigning Young Chef champion, Adam Bowers) I was there helping out when people had their night in the competition. I remember their nerves!”
This first heat of the five is very much a hometown affair.
James grew up in Hoylake, attending West Kirby Primary School. His passion for creating tempting meals and morsels stretches back to childhood – right back, in fact – to the days when he was making gingerbread men and shortbread in the classroom which evolved into food technology lessons at Pensby.
He continued: “I have always had a love for cookery.
“The manager at Marco’s and the head chef both put me forward for this competition and it’s an honour to be part of it.
“I wanted to work here because Marco Pierre White’s name really draws you in. It’s been a fantastic opportunity for me to work here and it’s a great challenge.
“You just have to get in to the kitchen, get you head down and work really hard.”
And while London and other major cities are the cornerstone of some young chef’s ambitions, this borough will always be on a slow simmer in James’s heart.
“My ambitions are what, I imagine, are the same of most chefs, to open my own restaurant. I would definitely open it in Wirral.
“It would be nice to give something back.”
Wirral Young Chef of the Year at Marco’s takes place on the evening of Tuesday, October 8.
The cost of a three-course meal is £18.95. To book, call Marco’s on 0151 632 2073.
Wirral Young Chef of the Year is supported by Wirral News, Wirral Council, Wirral Metropolitan College and Pickled Walnut.