Norfolk-born chef who worked at 'best restaurant in the world' makes National Chef of the Year final
PUBLISHED: 11:02 29 June 2019 | UPDATED: 08:34 30 June 2019
A Norfolk-born chef who started his career cleaning pots and pans is close to being crowned National Chef of the Year.
Harry Kirkpatrick, 26, has an impressive CV under his belt - he catered for the Queen at five-star hotel Claridge's in London Mayfair and worked at Eleven Madison Park in New York, which was voted the best restaurant in the world in 2017.
He also had a short stint working at one of Richard Branson's private islands in the British Virgin Islands.
Now, Mr Kirkpatrick works as a sous chef at Trinity Restaurant in Clapham, London, where he now lives.
Originally from Brooke, he studied at Framingham Earl and Wymondham College, and had a job washing pots and pans at the King's Head pub in his village when he was 16.
As a teen, he did not know what he wanted to do as a career, but was inspired by pub head chef Matthew Roberts to take on the art of cooking.
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"I didn't really know what I wanted to do, I just stumbled into it," he said. "I watched Matthew Roberts and he helped me with references and getting on a course."
Mr Kirkpatrick's skills in the kitchen bagged him a sponsorship to study at the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts in London, and since then his career has reached new heights.
More recently, he entered the Craft Guild of Chefs' National Chef of the Year competition and has sailed through to the final.
He will be competing for the top spot against nine other finalists at The Restaurant Show on October 1, the same day as his father's birthday.
He will be given a mystery box filled with random ingredients a couple of weeks before the final, and on the day he will be cooking in front of a live audience of up to 10,000 people.
"I've never done anything like this before," he said. "It's nice to have that recognition, you work so hard in this industry and it's difficult to begin with."
Whatever the outcome, Mr Kirkpatrick said he is pleased to have got so far in the competition, adding: "I am over the moon but I don't think this will affect me too much, I am still so focused on my job.
"Everyone at Trinity have been super supportive, I feel like I am representing Trinity in this."