Meet the Sheffield semi-finalist: Nick Edgar, head chef at The Rybeck Hotel in Windermere

Nick has entered the competition once before, making the final in 2014. It was always an ambition of his to enter again one day and to have another attempt at it. He felt the time was right for him to try again this year as he’s learnt a lot about cooking and himself in the last five years.

Where were you when you heard you had made it to the semi-finals?

I was just about to go into a busy lunch service at work when I received a notification via Twitter. It was a great feeling although short lived as my attentions soon turned to the service in hand and thoughts to preparation for the semi-final.

How did you celebrate this amazing achievement?

Celebrations are on hold at the moment, I’m at the start of a long journey hopefully to make the final, having already tasted the final I won’t be happy or celebrating until I achieve that.

How are you preparing for the final?

I’m preparing by ensuring that I feel fully confident with the dishes, looking at every aspect of them and how I can improve them and myself to execute the best three that I can. Forward thinking is key but not over practising. It’s about finding a balance between being prepared but feeling fresh and confident.

Who has inspired you during your career?

The biggest inspiration in my career so far has always been and will always continue to be Gary Jones. I have gone on record in every interview I’ve ever done to say this. Gary Jones was my first ever head chef at 17 and has been the number one role model and mentor in my career. He inspires me to better myself and in my opinion, Gary Jones is the best chef in the UK.

Which part of your menu are you most looking forward to cooking?

My favourite part of the menu is my dessert, although I’ve never been trained as a pastry chef my skills are simple but effective. A lot of thought goes into creating desserts to work with my abilities but also emphasis on flavour. Trying to execute a perfect tart in the time required and in an alien kitchen is a challenge and because I love a challenge this is why it’s my favourite course.

How will you feel if you make the final?

I will feel relieved, every chef entering the competition will feel the same way. We all want it, that’s why we have all entered, but the semi-finals are just the first step.

Tell us something not many people know about you.

I have a real love for politics and if I ever stopped being a chef I would love to become a politician. To be honest a busy kitchen in a fully booked restaurant on a Saturday night is about as organised as the Government are right now.

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