THE head chef at a restaurant near Peebles has reached the semi finals of a national competition.

Iain Gourlay, who works at Cringletie on Edinburgh Road, is one of just 40 shortlisted for the next stage of Craft Guild of Chefs National Chef of the Year (NCOTY) contest.

To get to this stage of the competition, Mr Gourlay had to create a three-course menu.

The brief was to focus on food waste and the creative use of ingredients as the UK and rest of the world grapple with the cost-of-living crisis, food inflation, supply chain disruption and ongoing global events.

Mr Gourlay said: ā€œIā€™m thrilled to be selected for the semi finals of such a prestigious competition, especially given the incredibly high quality of the other entrants.ā€

The NCOTY judges were keen to see how culinary skills, along with sustainable, local and global produce, were used to demonstrate an excellent understanding of ingredients.

The starter could be a fish, seafood or vegetarian dish with a focus on zero waste. Chefs had to demonstrate techniques that showed waste reduction, while using ingredients which were harmonious and belonged together.

They were asked to create a delicious lamb dish using two cuts of lamb and making use of ingredients, techniques and cooking styles that bring the very best from this main ingredient.

For the final dish, competitors were required to produce a warm or cold dessert. The recipe had to include a savoury aspect.

In a mission to take one of just 10 places in the final, Mr Gourlay must now create an innovative vegan signature dish suitable as an amuse-bouche or small first course using one humble ingredient.

Once all the entries have been received for this stage of the competition, a new panel of judges will whittle the 40 chefs down to 10 finalists to compete in the cook-off at the University of West London in October.

The winner will not only receive the most sought-after chef title in the UK, but they will take home a host of impressive prizes including culinary experiences, equipment and trips of a lifetime.