An ambitious woman from Erith has reached the semi-finals of the National Chef of the Year competition.

Louisa Budds, the head chef at The Bookstore in Erith, created a three course menu which impressed Michelin-starred chef, Kenny Atkinson.

Now in a bid to take one of the top ten spots, Louisa must create a short video, to present an amuse bouche style signature dish that reflects her own favourite style of cooking or cuisine.

The videos should explain what the dish is, why it is important to the chef and how it links to the theme.

Louisa is one of 40 chefs in the running to take the most sought-after title in the British culinary scene.

The winner will not only receive the title, but they will take home a host of impressive prizes including culinary experiences, equipment and trips of a lifetime.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the competition and the judges are looking for the next person to follow in the footsteps of recent champions Thomas Swaby, Nick Smith and Steve Groves.

National Chef of the Year was first run in 1972 and winners in the last fifty years have also included Gordon Ramsay, Simon Hulstone and Alyn Williams.

Chefs will also answer some questions posed by chair of judges, Kenny Atkinson who wants to know more about their original entry and what winning would mean to them.

Once all the entries have been received a new panel of judges will whittle them down to ten finalists to compete in the cook-off at Le Cordon Bleu in September.

Louisa said: “It would be an incredible thing to make the semi-finals. We want to put Erith – and The Bookstore - on the map when it comes to food, and this would definitely help! And personally, being a part of this competition is a long-term dream for me, so I am excited to even get this far.”

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