WITH a few signs of nerves Whatley Manor Hotel sous chef Ricki Weston waited for top chefs to judge his saddle of hogget.

"I knew the set up as I was entered last year," he said, "the brief was to cook a saddle of hogget and there was also a mystery box. I also prepared a ginger moose and a cider compote."

The young chef from the hotel near Malmesbury won through to the semi-finals of a competition to find Britain's best young chef but alas did not make the final for a place on the The Roux Scholarship.

The judges included Michel Roux Jnr from Masterchef, Brian Turner CBE of Ready, Steady, Cook, and James Martin of Saturday Kitchen while the semi final was held at University College Birmingham.

"There were six of us," he said, "with 12 chefs in London competing. Two went through from Birmingham and four from London to the final."

Ricki moved to Tetbury with his partner last year to take up the role of sous chef having previously lived in Nottingham and also Sussex.