A THORNBURY chef will be cooking up a storm in the kitchen today when he takes part in a prestigious cooking contest.

Mike Semple, 32, is a junior sous-chef at Thornbury Castle and has been selected as a finalist in the Chef v Chef competition which takes place today.

The competition is hosted by Bath City College and is specifically designed to promote culinary excellence throughout the region.

Mr Semple has worked at Thornbury Castle since June 2013. He previously was head chef at The Anchor Inn in Oldbury for nine and a half years after completing his initial training at the Aztec Hotel and Spa in Almondsbury.

He decided to enter the Chef v Chef competition after hearing about it at work.

“My head chef told me about the competition and I said I’d really like to enter it. I’ve never entered before and I was delighted when I was told my menu had been selected for the final.”

To enter the competition chefs from across the region had to design and submit a menu for a main course and dessert using a list of ingredients. They also had to include a diagram of both dishes indicating how they will be presented and describing how each course would be prepared and served.

Competitors were judged on their creative use of the ingredients and were be selected by a panel of judges to take part in today’s cook-off.

Mr Semple entered on January 2 and received the good news last week that he was a finalist.

His main course dish was pan fried pollock on a bed on sauté spinach with carrot puree and a beetroot fondant with a mussel and caviar velouté.

For dessert he proposed lemon sorbet with a dark chocolate mousse with macadamia nut twirls.

“I live to cook fish because there’s nothing better than when you cook fish and it’s ripe.”

Mr Semple’s love for cooking stems from an early age.

He said: “For as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to cook. I remember watching my parents when I was younger and my interest in cooking come from them”.

Mr Semple is looking forward to the final.

“I’m a little bit nervous. It’s something new that I haven’t done before. I’m just going to go in and enjoy myself. I’ll have to hold my nerves and just go for it.”