Apr 27 2011 By Lorna Hughes
Wirral Chef of the Year 2011 finalist Dave Williams from Portrait House, Hoylake
DAVE Williams could be forgiven for feeling a sense of deja vu about Wirral Chef of the Year.
When the Portrait House head chef last took part in our culinary contest in 2008, he and girlfriend Amy were expecting their first child.
Three years on, the proud dad to Lucas, two, is a finalist again – and the couple are welcoming another bundle of baby joy in October.
Dave, from Newton, started his career at the Green Room in West Kirby just after he turned 16.
At first he was washing dishes – but it sparked a passion for chefing. After a spell at university studying product design, he was lured back to the kitchens.
In 2007 he answered a call from a friend to help out with the opening night of the Portrait House – and ended up staying.
As he puts it: “Being a chef was never my plan but I got the job here and haven’t looked back.”
Although young for a head chef at 24, Dave recently turned his attentions to helping newcomers to the industry develop their skills.
He combines his busy job and fatherhood with freelance work as an NVQ assessor for training provider Scientiam.
He said: “There isn’t a fast turnover of staff here – my colleague Adam Bowers and I have worked together for four years, trying out new things and changing the menu.
“I’m finding working as an NVQ assessor quite rewarding. It’s nice to see people who are newer to it, look at their development and find out what different places do.”
As part of the job Dave works with Maggie Rimmer, who trained Masterchef: The Professionals winner Claire Lara.
But their paths have never crossed and they will meet for the first time when she judges the Wirral Chef of the Year cook-off later this year.
He said: “I was in a cook-off for Hoylake Cottage’s cottage pie competition in December. I really enjoyed it – and I won! I think it adds something to the competition and it’ll be good to meet the other chefs.
He laughed: “I’ve always had opportunities to see Claire here and there but I’ve never managed it!
“So I’m looking forward to finally meeting her.”