CELEBRITY chef Michael Caines has been judging young apprentices in a Masterchef-style cooking competition.

The Michelin starred restaurateur was at Somerset Larder in Bridgwater to officially open its new central production kitchen.

After cutting the ribbon, he went inside to taste dishes specially prepared by five of its trainee cooks.

Having toured the new state of the art kitchens, which supply meals and ‘food to go’ to all the catering outlets at Hinkley Point and other local businesses, Mr Caines then tucked into a variety of offerings.

Kinga Wachowska had prepared fresh Scottish salmon with beetroot aioli and watercress salad.

Mr Caines was very taken with the aioli which he said had some “great flavours”. He declared Liam Hewitt’s Szechuan chicken “delicious” and Estaven Colangelo’s Brazillian fish stew was “very tasty”.

He also loved Ben Knight’s rolled pork loin with a sage and apricot stuffing, which he said was “a really great effort”.

Announcing David Dickinson’s apple pear and almond tart the overall winner he said: “This was the stand out dish, both technically and taste wise, the tart was exceptional he really nailed it. The pastry was excellent and he showed a huge amount of skill making it.”

David said: “I was so pleased he liked it, he is a great hero of mine so it was an honour to meet him. He seems really down to earth and genuinely interested in what we are doing here.”

All the meals featured, with Michael’s suggestions as to how to refine them, will be served at Hinkley C - billed as “inspired by Michael Caines”.

The chef, who owns and runs Lympstone Manor in Devon, has said he would like to see the food industry working together more to provide good apprenticeships.