Peter Richardson meets a Lancashire lass who is one of just eight finalists in Britain's Young chef of the Year competition It would be fair to say that chef Lisa Allen has a lot on her plate right now. Of course, she's used to the pressure that comes with working on one of Lancashire's fore-most restaurants. But the cauldron reaches boiling point on Monday when she represents this region in Britain's annual Young Chef of The year competition. "I'm looking forward to it" she says "but I'm so nervous as well. I just want to do well" she's only 23, yet she's made the final on a previous occasion.
A panel from the highest echelons of cooking will be judging her efforts at Westminster college. Last year they included the fearsome Gordon Ramsey, whoever it is this time will have the privilege or otherwise of telling Lisa whether she's lifted £2000 in cash and a trip to Cuba. Actually she's already been on her travels, as regional success meant a visit to Reims, to cast her eye on one of the top champagne houses.
Lisa is sous chef at Northcote Manor, the award winning restaurant at Langho, near Whalley, where she now lives. In effect she is number three in a brigade of 12 behind joint owner Nigel Haworth and head chef Matt Harris. Three years ago she was at the foot of the ladder, learning her trade as a commis.