National Chef of the Year finalist- Martin Frickel
The National Chef of the Year finalist, Martin Frickel has been interested in food as long as he can remember. He cooked as a youngster with his family and as he grew-up he started to pick up recipe books to get hints, tips and information on different cuisine styles. Whilst most of his classmates were into reading and watching Harry Potter, Martin tuned into Jamie Oliver instead.
It was aged 15, that Martin decided he wanted to be a chef. On leaving secondary school he joined Kendal Colleges’ Culinary School, where he trained for three years under the watchful eye of chef tutors, Richard Axford and Yannick Lequitte. He studied for his NVQ Level 2, and two Level 3 NVQ qualifications on a part-time basis whilst working as a chef apprentice in a local hotel. Martin has already had an impressive career from working at the Castle Green with chef Justin Woods to working at L’Enclume with Simon Rogan. These days Martin works as a senior sous chef at the Forest Side in Grasmere.
Martin admits to being inspired each day by the farmers and producers who create truly amazing produce. Whilst these ingredients can’t fail to bring out the best in any chef, his main inspiration was his mother, who is sadly no longer with him. With the memories of their time cooking together, she inspired him to follow his dream from the very beginning.
Martin Frickel wanted to give The National Chef of the Year a shot whilst he was still young enough. Alongside his close friend and fellow chef, Matt Campbell, they agreed to enter in the same year to challenge and bring out the best in each other. Sadly, Matt passed away earlier this year whilst running the London Marathon, so Martin is doing this for him as well as himself. Winning the title would mean so much to Martin, but this year more than ever with him competing in Matt’s memory. He also knows winning could open so many doors for him as it’s such a highly regarded competition. Martin admits he can’t think of anything better to have on your CV as a chef, especially having experienced the support of the judges during the whole experience.
After hearing that he’d made it to the final, Martin can’t describe that feeling of excitement. Especially knowing that he now had the opportunity to show what he could do in the final. After competing in the Sheffield heat, Martin felt quietly confident and was happy with what he produced but had a whole week to wait for his place to be confirmed. After the announcement, Martin rang his dad, just before his social media accounts went crazy with people congratulating him. He was enjoying a day off so was able to go for a celebratory Gin and Tonic with a few friends.
The three words that would describe Martin’s style of cooking are ingredient-led, sustainable and innovative.