BUDDING young chefs have been cooking up a storm as they compete to become Wirral’s top young chef.

GCSE food technology students from high schools across the borough have been creating smoking-hot dishes at American-themed smokehouse Hickory’s, in West Kirby, in an attempt to be crowned the Hickory’s Junior Masterchef 2014.

Students have been asked to create either a starter, main course or dessert that would work well on the authentic American menu.

They also have to practice and cost their dish to test its viability on a commercial menu.

Hickory’s executive chef Rob Bacon said: “We saw this as a great way of introducing young people to this style of cooking while maybe encouraging them to consider a career in our industry in the future.”

More than 100 talented young chefs from seven high schools have entered the competition and Mr Bacon says that some of the dishes have been real stars.

“We were amazed with the standard of the entries we received,” said Mr Bacon.

“Students had researched the area really well and used some extremely traditional American ingredients, so it was difficult to come up with a shortlist.”

The successful students will now take part in a live ‘cook-off’ on site at Hickory’s.

The semi-final heats between Weatherhead High, Wallasey School, Pensby High and Upton Hall will take place on January 21 and 22, with the grand final – presided over by an illustrious panel of judges – is set to take place at the end of the month.