FOUR of the UK’s best young chefs across the southwest have been battling it out to be crowned 2022 FutureChef champion in one of a series of regional finals taking place across the UK this month.

The southwest heat took place at Bridgewater & Taunton College on Friday, January 14 with four students from across the region hoping to finesse their cooking abilities and progress into the national final, which takes place at Westminster Kingsway College in London on Monday, March, 14.

The lucky winner Perran Clark, who lives in North Devon, cooked a delicious Roquefort cheese and butternut squash cappelletti, toasted walnuts, and brown butter, followed by an apple tarte tartan with caramel sauce.

As Perran progresses ever closer to the national final he will be mentored by the head chef at Seacliff Restaurant and former MasterChef contestant, Carla Jones.

Chris Gamm, CEO of Springboard, said: “With the hospitality sector taking a big hit over the last 18-months, the FutureChef competition is an important programme to introduce new young talent to the world of hospitality.

“It’s more important than ever to keep the idea of a career in hospitality at the forefront of students, teachers, and parents’ minds.

“Many well-known industry heavy weights have supported FutureChef, from Monica Galetti to Michel Roux Jr and Clare Smyth – it is simply a great steppingstone into the industry.

“We look forward to our FutureChef competitions every year, and love witnessing talented young individuals entering the industry and discovering their passions for what the sector has to offer.

“Competitions such as these are pivotal to the recovery of the sector, through the injection of talented and motivated individuals to the workforce and the promotion of the industry.”

The competition calls on young budding chefs across the region to compete and develop their culinary skills.

Throughout the four-staged competition, young people in the southwest heats will be introduced to important themes such as sustainability and plant-based and zero-waste cooking.

Discussing the regional heat, Greg Popek, Judge and executive chef at BaxterStorey, the UK’s largest hospitality provider, said: “I love to share my culinary knowledge with chefs through coaching and mentoring, so when the opportunity came up for me to judge Springboard’s FutureChef competition I jumped at the chance. Never has it been more important than now to inspire and teach the younger generation about the amazing opportunities a career in hospitality offers.”

Since the FutureChef competition began in 1999, almost 200,000 young people aged 12-16 have taken part and learned how to cook, developing their skills and knowledge with many going on to establish themselves within the industry.

Throughout this time, the competition has progressed and developed to form part of the overall FutureChef programme which offers industry links, online resources, module learning, careers advice and guidance, and a suite of teacher resources.

For more information on FutureChef, visit