A local chef from an award-winning hotel has made it through to the semi-finals of a prestigious national competition.

Sam Rust, Chef de Partie at the prestigious Grove of Narberth has earned a place in the semi finals of the National Chef of the Year competition.

Since its inauguration in 1972 the National Chef of the Year contest has challenged chefs on culinary skills, creativity, and resilience.

Previous winners including Gordon Ramsay, Alyn Williams and Mark Sargeant.

“Only the best, most innovative and creative chefs get a shot at the title and the chance to open doors to future success,” said the competition organisers.

“Being part of this event, whatever stage a chef gets to, creates many opportunities including wider industry and consumer recognition.”

Sam will be up against 40 other chefs from all over the UK as he competes for a place in the final.

Over the next few weeks, he has to create an amuse-bouche or pre-dessert with the theme A Taste of Summer using seasonal ingredients.

He must bring this dish to life with a story of a personal food hero. It could be an inspirational chef, family member, mentor or industry personality that has inspired this dish.

If Sam is successful, he will go through to the final ten and compete for the prwestigious title of National Chef of the Year.

“We are delighted to share that our Chef de Partie, Sam Rust, has advanced to the semi-finals,” said a spokesperson for Grove of Narberth.

“Sam’s commitment to excellence and sustainable ingredients has earned him this significant recognition.

“We’re honoured to support Sam as he continues this exciting journey. Well done Sam.”

Matt Abé, chef patron at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay and chair of the judges said: “I have loved seeing and scoring every single dish put forward by the competitors.

“Generally, the standard has been very strong, and we already know that whittling them down from 40 to ten is going to be a challenge.

“My advice for this next stage is to really focus on telling us your own personal story so as judges we understand the creative thinking behind your dishes.”

Competition director and food innovation and sustainability director at Sodexo UK and Ireland, David Mulcahy added: “There were some highly creative styles of cooking in this first round, and it was fantastic to see chefs enter from a wide variety of sectors and backgrounds.

“A significant number of dishes had particularly elegant presentation with a great deal of workmanship and style. Having judged this competition for many years I feel that I have seen more creativity and innovation in the menus this year and I am already excited to see what’s presented in the next stage.”