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19th November 2020
Edwin Kuk, who studied his trade at The City of Liverpool College, has won the Young National Chef of The Year 2020 following a tense cook-off at Le Corden Bleu in London.
Competing against some of the UK’s top young culinary talent, Edwin becomes the first chef from a Liverpool restaurant to take the top award.
Edwin graduated from the college several years ago, where he studied a Level 3 Diploma in Professional Cookery with Ian Jaundoo. The 22-year-old now works as Junior Sous Chef at Paul Askew’s The Art School Restaurant.
Born in Hong Kong, but very much a son of the city, Edwin spent much of his early life travelling through Asia with his family, where he discovered a love for the culinary arts.
Influenced by chefs such as Nathan Outlaw, Gordon Ramsay, Uncle Roger, The Roux Brothers and, of course mentor and Chef Patron of The Art School, Paul Askew, Edwin has a bright future in the industry and follows in the footsteps of previous winners from establishments including the Savoy in London, Gordon Ramsey and Le Manoir.
He modestly describes his cooking style as simple, although the techniques and skills have been acquired through hard work and an openness to learn from some of the industry’s best.
— Edwin Kuk (@KukEdwin) September 30, 2020
Even while The Art School was closed during lockdown, Edwin took the chance to see the positives of COVID-19, saying it gave him time to focus on himself and refine his knowledge of different chefs and techniques.
Edwin was entered into the national competition following his victory in the North West Young Chef of The Year back in 2019, which saw him cook his own menu. Written in line with the brief, Edwin brought his menu to life at Le Corden Bleu in London, alongside his fellow finalists.
Edwin served up a starter of velouté of Wirral watercress and spinach with ravioli of organic Colston Basset cheese, walnut, Granny Smith apple and pickled celery. His main course was steamed loin of Norwegian cod wrapped in prawn mousse and served with beluga lentils, edamame beans, lotus root and Asian broth. A dessert of cinnamon Pain Perdu, lemon verbena yoghurt ice cream with caramelised damsons, white chocolate and pistachio completed his winning menu.
Paul Askew, Chef Patron of The Art School in Liverpool, said:
“I am delighted for Ed. The process of refining and shaping his menu to bring out his own food culture with that of The Art School was fantastic. Mentoring and supporting his journey has been an absolute joy and it’s another first for our great city.”
Ian Jaundoo, Executive Chef Manager at The City of Liverpool College, said:
“Edwin did very well at college and was a member of the Academy Culinary Team which won numerous competitions around the country during his time here. It was a pleasure to have mentored and encouraged him and it’s great to see that Paul Askew has continued to mentor him further, resulting in this fantastic achievement! We are very proud.”
At a challenging time for the hospitality industry, Edwin wants to encourage young chefs to “stay outside of your comfort zone, keep trying, and you will always learn something”. He is immensely proud to be crowned with such a prestigious national award in the industry, and especially to be the first young chef to do it for Liverpool.
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