LAST year's Wirral Chefs Shine was a learning curve for Adam Bowers – and this time he says there’ll be no playing it safe.
The 23-year-old’s first taste of the competition came just two weeks after he won a promotion to second chef at Hoylake’s Portrait House restaurant.
A year in the role has seen Adam take a huge leap in confidence and he believes diners will see the difference on the plate.
The former Hilbre High School pupil said: "I think last year I played it too safe and I don’t think I pushed myself enough.
"I’ve had a whole year of being second chef. I’m a much better chef and I feel I’m a lot more confident.
"My starter, with a trio of seafood, is a lot more creative and there are a lot of different aspects to it.
"But there’s no room for error and it’s got to be perfect and come together at the same time. It shows that I’m trying to test myself and show what I can do now.
"Last year I thought I could do these things but I was a little bit unwilling in case it went wrong.
"Now I know I can do them."
Adam, from Hoylake, has been at the Portrait House for two-and-a-half years.
He started his career at 17 running the kitchen at Slinkys in West Kirby.
Adam works at the Portrait House in a close-knit team alongside head chef Dave Williams – a Wirral Chefs Shine finalist in 2008 – and third chef Chris Evans.
He says teamwork is the key to their success.
He said: "We’ve had other people coming in and out but us three have stayed together.
"We’ve all worked as a team for so long that we know exactly how each of us works and we look out for each other. I know the lads in here will treat this as their own night. If they’re not happy with something they’re not going to send it out."
Adam hopes to become a head chef one day but at the moment he’s soaking up everything he can from his role at the Portrait House, particularly the nights when he’s in charge of the kitchen in Dave’s absence.
He says going to the gym before work helps maintain his focus and keeps his strength up for the long shifts in the kitchen.
He said: "It would be the wrong attitude to think you were going to win and get disappointed. Last year I took the competition as a learning curve rather than getting too downhearted.
"I felt like I’d won just doing it.
"I feel I’ve produced a menu which I want to win. I’m not just there to make up the numbers and I want to really go for it.
"But as long as everyone enjoys it and it goes well, I’ll feel that’s enough."
Wirral Chefs Shine at the Portrait House, The Quadrant, Hoylake is on the evening of Tuesday, September 14.
The cost of a three-course meal is £18.95. To book call 632 4444.
WIRRAL Chefs Shine 2010 is supported by Wirral Council, the Mersey Partnership, Liverpool Community College, Wirral Met College and The Chocolate Cellar.