THE 2019 winner of the South West Chef of the Year is Edward Marsh, 26, from Calne, a sous chef at the Manor House Hotel, Castle Combe.

Finalists had to cook a three-course menu using a surprise box of ingredients. His winning dish was pan fried red mullet, served with confit fennel with pickled romanesco.

Mr Marsh said: “It was a brilliant competition. I found it quite hard because on a personal level I was up against my peers and people I know. The south west doesn’t get a lot of coverage so it was nice that the competition was able to give us some.

“It was quite stressful because we had a mystery basket and we only found out the protein a week before. So you can only practice certain elements. My favourite dish to cook was rabbit as I hadn’t really worked with it before, so I got to learn something new.”

Mr Marsh won both the professional category and best menu on October 22, under the eye of a 20-strong team of judges.

“I have cooked before for big names, but I didn’t want to disappoint in my own area. This gives me a great platform to do more things. I will go on to compete in the semi-finals of the national chef of the year and other competitions next year.

“To celebrate I actually slept a lot. The final was such a long day around 19 hours but the next day we went out for a meal and had champagne."