A man from Langho who works at a Michelin star East Lancs restaurant, has been crowned as the best young chef in the nation after winning a competition.

Sam Dixon, demi chef de partie at Northcote in Langho, has been unveiled as the Craft Guild of Chef's new Young National Chef of the Year, following a hotly contested final at the University of West London this week. 

Sam received the accolade for his winning menu of: Norwegian cod starter, chicken skin, pickled mushroom, hen of the woods, and smoked bacon, using seafood from Norway.

The main course included aged Waterford Farm duck, glazed meatball and beetroot.

Lancashire Telegraph: Sam Dixon has been named Young National Chef of the Year Sam Dixon has been named Young National Chef of the Year (Image: Northcote)

For dessert he made a Manchester tart, which impressed a panel of judges that included Michelin star chefs.  

23-year-old Sam is a graduate of the apprenticeship scheme at Northcote and started in the Michelin Star kitchen, run by Lisa Goodwin-Allen, aged 18.

Since completing his apprenticeship, he has progressed to the role of demi chef de partie, a position he has held for a year. 

This was his first major competition and the young chef was both surprised and delighted to have received the top honour.

Speaking of winning the title of Young Chef of the Year title, Sam said: “It was a real surprise to win, but it felt great.

"There were nine people cooking in the final and they were all really talented chefs, so to be chosen as winner was just brilliant.

"This was my first major competition, and I still can’t believe I won.  

“It is nerve-wracking, especially with some of the names that were there but meeting the judges was an amazing experience as they are all people I really admire.  

“Obviously having Lisa as a mentor has been fantastic, I’ve learnt so much from her both through my apprenticeship at Northcote and throughout the course of this competition. She has been a huge support to me, so I hope I have made her proud.”

“Hopefully this is just the start,” he said. “I’d definitely like to enter more competitions and I hope this will help me progress in my career.” 

He follows in the footsteps of previous winners such as Mae Dionio, Luke Selby and Ben Champkin.

Sam will also enjoy a host of prizes, including £3,000 from the Worshipful Company of Cooks to spend on culinary development, an educational culinary trip of a lifetime to Norway, a product prize of £250 and a framed presentation plate from Churchill, which will also be taking the winner on a gastronomic experience with previous winners.

Sam also won a magnum bottle Champagne Collet and membership to the Craft Guild of Chefs.

Milk producers Sodiaal is also giving Sam the chance visit one of its farms in the Clermont-Ferrand region of France, including a paragliding experience to enjoy the scenery.

Young National Chef of the Year is judged by some of the industry’s biggest names including chair of judges, Lisa Goodwin-Allen, executive chef at Northcote.

After the difficult task of selecting the winner, she said:  “From judging the semi-finals, I knew it would be a hard task as all the chefs rose to the challenge.

"All the judges agreed that Sam really deserved this win as he created three absolutely delicious plates of food.  

“It was amazing to see Sam win, I have to admit I was fighting back the emotions when it was decided.

"When you see someone that joined you as a teenager competing at such a level against other top chefs from all over the country it’s quite emotional. He did an amazing job.  

“The judging panel included the likes of James Knappett, Chantelle Nicholson, Chet Sharma and Adam Handling – there were a lot of very high-profile judges, which could be intimidating, but he did amazingly well, and I hope he feels incredibly proud.

"When I saw him smiling, I knew he’d enjoyed it. Sam has a very bright future in front of him and he will go on to carve his own career. We will help as much as we can.” 

Talking of her role as chair of judges, Lisa said: “I’ve loved my two-year role as chair of judges for a competition I’m extremely passionate about.

"It’s so important for me to play a part in mentoring, inspiring and retaining these culinary stars in our industry.” 

David Mulcahy, competition director and food innovation and sustainability director at Sodexo UK and Ireland said: “It’s important that the Craft Guild of Chefs invests in the young talent we have in our industry and this competition is so important for not only retaining but attracting talent.

“This is a competition that many chefs have their eye on from a young age and these rising stars get involved in other incredible industry competitions to have a shot at this title.

“You only need to look at the list of former winners to see what an incredible platform this competition provides. We are really looking forward to working with Sam over the next year and following his career which I’m sure is going to be full of success.”