BUDDING young chefs from Christchurch eateries are being urged to take part in a prestigious local competition.

Organisers of the Young Professional Chef of the Year competition are appealing for more entries from young chefs aged under 25 years old with a passion for food.

The competition is part of this year’s Christchurch Food and Wine festival, which will welcome popular chef James Martin back to the town following his successful visit last year.

The young chefs’ brief is to design a main course dish with a strong local influence using seasonal products with minimal food miles.

The finalists will be chosen according to their written nomination and menu, with the short-listed chefs invited to take part in a cook-off on February 21 at Bournemouth and Poole College.

Judges include David Boland, senior lecturer and lead tutor in hospitality and catering and James Golding, head chef of The Pig at Brockenhurst as well as Martin Preston, managing director of Chef’s Mate.

Establishments wishing to nominate a young chef should contact David Badley at badley@talktalk.net by February 1.

Arrangements for this year’s Food and Wine festival from May 11 are fast taking shape, with James Martin taking part in two demonstrations on Sunday May 12.

The first will take place at 11.30am and the second at 3.30pm, with a chance to meet James and have a VIP seat at the demonstrations by booking lunch at either The Kings Arms Hotel or the Captain’s Club on the same day.

Lunch with him is available at either venue priced £40.

The Festival’s patron, Lesley Waters, will also be returning for a cookery demonstration in the marquee on Saturday May 11 at 11.15am.

There is a chance to have VIP seats at the demonstration and take lunch with Lesley at The Kings Arms Hotel with lunch priced at £30.

Tickets for all these lunches are available from the Regent Centre on regentcentre.co.uk or 01202 499199.