A young chef from Carlisle is due to represent the UK at a prestigious international competition.

Harry Van Lierop, 21, from the city centre and now working at The Ledbury, has recently returned from Trondheim, Norway, where he and three other chefs formed the British contingency at the Bocuse d’Or European competition, placing fourth out of 20 teams to go on to the final, an international competition, in Lyon, France, next year.

Described as the biggest culinary competition in the world, this year saw teams tasked with preparing, cooking, and plating a dish for 14 people.

This year’s brief was reindeer, Mr van Lierop said, a local meat, and the team made use of local spirit aquavit and made a platter of skrei – a Norwegian cod.

A platter was sent to 14 people along with two garnishes, one of which had to be a nod to the UK, as Mr van Lierop explained he and his team opted for a leek and potato garnish.

The four-strong team featured himself as commis, president Clare Smyth – chef patron of Core by Clare Smyth and Oncore in Sydney, coach Ian Musgrave of The Ritz, and ‘candidate’ Tom Phillips of London’s Restaurant Story.

In Cumbria: Members of Team UK. Left to right: Harry van Lierop, Tom Phillips, Clare Smyth, Ian MusgraveMembers of Team UK. Left to right: Harry van Lierop, Tom Phillips, Clare Smyth, Ian Musgrave (Image: Berre)

A cook-off in London secured their place in the team, and following their achievement in placing fourth, they are now on their way to representing the UK in the finals and hopefully placing the nation on the podium for the first time.

“It’s a real honour to be on a team with people like these and to represent my country.

“The reason why I’ve got to this point is I’ve worked at some of the best restaurants in the country, I’ve built my skill set up to a point where I feel comfortable and confident working around people like these.

“It was such an amazing event, and one I personally enjoyed,” Mr van Lierop said.

In Cumbria: Team UK represented among the crowd, by their workstationTeam UK represented among the crowd, by their workstation (Image: Berre)

The team has been training full-time, out of work, for months, with Mr Phillips starting in November and Mr van Lierop starting in January.

So far, this work has paid off, as Mr van Lierop said of the future: “Britain has never been on the podium before, and to change the way people think about British culinarily, we have to do something big.”

Mr van Lierop comes from a culinary family, and started work at 16 at family-owned Carlisle restaurant The Last Zebra and Coco Mill.

The top three at the Norway event were, in order, Denmark, Sweden, and Norway, followed by the UK.

The other six countries going to the Lyon finals are France, Hungary, Italy, Iceland, Slovakia, and Finland.