RYEDALE chef Oliver Farrar of The Durham Ox, Crayke, has been shortlisted as one of just four national finalists in the Parliamentary Pub Chef of the Year competition.

The prestigious award, in its second year, sought nominations from MPs across the country in the search for the most skilled and talented pub chefs.

Oliver was nominated by his MP Kevin Hollinrake for Thirsk and Malton and shortlisted after a rigorous judging panel selected the best entries from more than 130 nominations.

The competition is run by the British Beer & Pub Association and the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group’s in partnership with Nestlé Professional.

Eight finalists, four from the Parliamentary Pub Chef and four from the Young Parliamentary Pub Chef categories, will go on to battle it out for the title of Parliamentary Pub Chef or Young Pub Chef of 2018 at a cook-off event in Hospitality House, in London, on January 24.

They will cook for judges before winners are announced at an awards ceremony in the House of Commons on Wednesday, February 7.

Oliver said: “I’m absolutely blown away at having made it through to the cook-off.

“It’s a real honour and I’m so happy to have this opportunity to compete in January.

“The Durham Ox is a great pub, serving some fantastic food with the wonderful array of local produce we have access to here in North Yorkshire.”

Kevin Hollinrake MP said: “The Durham Ox is a truly exceptional pub. I have spent many an evening there with friends and family. For me it has special significance as it was where I met my wife Nikky.

“What I like about the pub is that it is everything as pub should be. It sources local produce and the menu choice is second to none. I am truly lucky to have Oliver Farrar and his team within my constituency.”

Brigid Simmonds, BBPA chief executive, said: “Last year’s nominees were of a high standard but this year really has seen a step up in quality.

“The entries showed the breadth of talent on display in our pubs and I am excited to see what our finalists produce in the cook off.”

Judge Andrej Prokes, executive chef at Nestlé Professional, said: “The standard of entries for this year’s competition was extremely high. I was really impressed with the quality and attention to detail shown by the nominees. The finalists can already be really proud of what they’ve achieved and I am excited to sample their work in the cook off.”

The panel of expert judges included Paul Dickinson, director of food at Fuller’s; Andrej Prokes, executive chef at Nestlé Professional; Kate Hempsall, consultant to the beer and pub trade; and Dawn Redman, director at Hospitality Jobs UK.