Top national accolade for Edwin Kuk from Paul Askew’s The Art School Restaurant
Following a tense cook-off at Le Corden Bleu in London, competing against some of the UK’s top young culinary talent, Ed Kuk has become the first chef from a Liverpool restaurant to take the Young National Chef of The Year award.
The 22 year old, who works as Junior Sous Chef at The Art School Restaurant, studied his trade at The City of Liverpool College. Born in Hong Kong, he spent much of his early life travelling through Asia with his family, where he discovered a love for the culinary arts.
Stay outside of your comfort zone, keep trying, and you will always learn something
Influenced by chefs such as Nathan Outlaw, Gordon Ramsay, Uncle Roger, The Roux Brothers and, of course mentor and Chef Patron of The Art School, Paul Askew, Edwin has a bright future in the industry and follows in the footsteps of previous winners from establishments including the Savoy in London, Gordon Ramsey and Le Manoir.
He modestly describes his cooking style as simple, although the techniques and skills have been acquired through hard work and an openness to learn from some of the industry’s best.
Even while The Art School was closed during lockdown, Edwin took the chance to see the positives of COVID-19, it gave him time to focus on himself and refine his knowledge of different chefs and techniques.
Following victory in the North West Young Chef of The Year back in 2019, Edwin was entered into the national competition, which saw him cook his own menu written, in line with the brief, down in London at Le Corden Bleu alongside his fellow finalists.
Edwin served up a starter of velouté of Wirral watercress and spinach with ravioli of organic Colston Basset cheese, walnut, Granny Smith apple and pickled celery. His main course was steamed loin of Norwegian cod wrapped in prawn mousse and served with beluga lentils, edamame beans, lotus root and Asian broth. A dessert of cinnamon pain perdu, lemon verbena yoghurt ice cream with caramelised damsons, white chocolate and pistachio completed his winning menu.
“Winning the Young National Chef of the Year 2021 is my biggest achievement so far and I will never forget this, I’m speechless,” said Edwin Kuk.
Paul Askew, his mentor, and a fellow of The Royal Academy of Culinary Arts, said, “I am delighted for Ed. The process of refining and shaping his menu to bring out his own food culture with that of The Art School was fantastic. Mentoring and supporting his journey has been an absolute joy and it’s another first for our great city.”
At a challenging time for the hospitality industry, Edwin wants to encourage young chefs to “stay outside of your comfort zone, keep trying, and you will always learn something.” He is immensely proud to be crowned with such a prestigious national award in the industry, and especially to be the first young chef to do it for Liverpool.
The Art School, 1 Sugnall St, Liverpool L7 7EB