George Harding

George is currently working at The Atlantic Hotel in Jersey as a senior chef de partie. He trained at Pembrokeshire College in South West Wales, where he completed his three-year professional cookery course. After leaving college, he worked for Will Holland at the Coast Restaurant in Saundersfoot before taking a placement at Le Manoir for three months. He then returned to work at Coast for a further 18 months. His next move was to Bristol where he worked at Wilks restaurant for chef, James Wilkins before going back to work for Will after he had moved to Jersey.

George loves the challenges which working in a kitchen brings. He admits he would be lost without the kitchen structure and organisation that lies within it. However, his main reason for being a chef is making the customers that come to the restaurant happy with the food he creates. He loves helping make the memories that being around a dining table generates.

Being a chef is all he has ever wanted to do. After he finished school, his brother was doing his level two cookery at Pembrokeshire College, so George went in for some open days and loved it too.

Chef Will Holland has played a massive part in his cooking career, helping him develop his skills and giving him the drive and confidence to go off into other kitchens and hold his own. Will was the one that introduced George to competitions when he was competing in National Chef of the Year. Plus, the time at Le Manoir and the love and passion that goes into the food there really opened George’s eyes and showed him the style of food he wanted to make. With chef James Wilkins he learnt a lot about new ingredients and working in a Michelin starred restaurant inspired him.

George thrives on the pressure of having to get something prepared, cooked and plated in a certain time and then the relief of completing. The adrenaline rush at the halfway point in the semi-finals was a great boost and he can see why people get hooked on doing competitions. He also loves meeting all the other chefs that he’s competing against as well as the chefs judging.

He still feels shocked to have made the final as it doesn’t feel real. Winning would mean everything to him and he knows what a massive achievement it will be for both him and everyone who has supported him. When it comes to the day, he is just going to go and give it everything he has got and is taking this time to just think about the way he works and how to organise everything for the final. This is something the judges told him in the semi-finals he needed to improve on, so he’s taken their advice on board. Once he has the brief it’s going to be head down and serious planning for the dishes to take to the final in October. 

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