A young chef from Cornwall has gone through to the regional finals of a top national competition.

Charlie D’Lima who works at Crocadon Farm, near Saltash, is competing for the Roux Scholarship.

Eighteen chefs will take part in two regional finals tomorrow (Thursday) in London and Birmingham. Among those competing are chefs from Claridge’s in London and the Gordon Ramsey Group.

Competitors will have two-and-a-half hours to cook their dish, along with a dessert from a mystery box of ingredients given to them on the day.

The judges will be looking for recipes and methods which demonstrate the best balance of creativity, taste, style and practicality in the finished dishes.

The chefs have been selected from their written recipes that had to use one short loin of free-range gilt pork, two fresh pork kidneys, crackling and sweet potatoes. The recipes were submitted anonymously to the judges who then took part in a recipe judging day.

Judge Michel Roux Jr, whose television credits include MasterChef: The Professionals, Saturday Kitchen, and Food and Drink, said: “The successful chefs sent in a really great set of recipes that all showcase some amazing skills and presentation in their dishes.”

Judge Alain Roux said: “It was great to see so many new candidates taking part in the competition. It shows how, despite the difficulties in today’s hospitality industry, so many young chefs are dedicated to improving their skills and gaining new experience by taking part in the scholarship.”

Michel Roux founded the Roux Scholarship with his brother Albert to enable a new generation of chefs from Britain to train in top restaurants, and the first competition was held 40 years ago.

Charlie said: “I entered because I’ve been a long-standing admirer of both the Roux family and the competition.

“Since I was 10, visiting the Good Food Show at London Excel, dying to meet Michel Roux Jr, to visiting Le Gavroche, an absolute icon in gastronomy in the UK, I have always had the scholarship at the forefront of my mind.

“It is now, working with Dan Cox at Crocadon in a team that strives for perfection, that I feel ready to take on such a challenge.

“The dish I entered was shio koji marinaded pork loin, fermented sweet potato purée, a five-spice sweet potato tartelette with a lemongrass kidney ragu and a lemongrass infused pork sauce. This will be served alongside arroz rojo, cooked in a crab stock made using sustainably-sourced excess shells from the picked crab in Cornwall.”

Charlie continued: “After four years of working with Paul Ainsworth at Number 6 in Padstow, he gave me a truly genuine bit of advice when I was moving on: not to follow money or hierarchy, but choose a place where you will learn day in, day out, and have a mentor who will guide you and nurture you to be the very best you can be. I truly feel I have found a place where both of these things are true.

“Harvesting our produce daily at Crocadon Farm brings a real sense of accomplishment when creating the final dishes.

“Serving up to 20 guests a night and being able to fully showcase our incredible ingredients is one of the most rewarding parts of my career to date.

“The food I am making at the moment has such a true sense of identity, as the soil health is ultimately at the heart of everything we do at Crocadon. Learning and working with the sheep and livestock with Dan Cox, a previous Roux scholar, is an eye-opener for me.

“I don’t think there’s anywhere else in the UK that rears their own animals from field to plate in the way that we do it here at Crocadon farm!”

Looking to the future, Charlie said: “I would love to own my own restaurant here in Cornwall; I love the south coast, so ideally somewhere around there!

“But whatever it is, I really want to be making an impact on the food scene.

“Sustainability in food is something really important to me and, ultimately, there is little future to it unless we all care a little bit more.”

Six winners from the regional finals of the Roux Scholarship will go through to the national final which will take place on April 8.