HE may not have won a Roux scholarship, but as a young head chef in a five star restaurant, Connor Wilson has little to prove.

A young chef who lives at Bardon Mill near Hexham got through to the regional finals of a competition to find Britain’s best young chef, which would have gained him a Roux Scholarship.

His disappointment at not winning comes from the fact that he will not be able to give the hotel at which he works the chance to advertise his win and attract more customers.

Connor, who has just turned 29, works at The Traddock, a beautiful country house hotel near Settle but continues to live at Bardon Mill where he was born and educated.

“I like living there. I stay at the hotel and go home on my days off," he said.

He became head chef when he was 26 - fairly young for that position but he said the industry is changing and there are others like him.

“I didn’t like school. I did okay but I didn’t like it. I hadn’t done any cooking - maybe a little with my grandmother but I would have burned water in those days," he joked.

At the age on only 14 he got a job as a kitchen porter which meant doing all the menial jobs like doing dishes.

“I loved it. From that moment I knew what I wanted to do.”

Talking about the competition, he said each contestant was given ingredients and told to make something.

In an intense two hours he created a hake mousse, pan-fried hake, leeks in couscous with butter sauce and a dessert.

The winner of the Roux Scholarship competition will get a three-month placement at any Michelin-star restaurant in the world and receive up to £12,000 to support their career development.

Connor loves his job but agreed that the industry as a whole was struggling with staffing issues.

“I think it has been going for a while and Brexit and Covid have just speeded it up.”

But he believes the industry is fighting back to attract young people in.

“Young people don’t want to work 90 hour weeks with little pay. Places like The Traddock are changing. Our chefs work four days on and three off. It is much better and it has improved our staff situation.”

That does not apply to the head chef, of course. He still works five or six days if required.

But nothing much has changed for Connor as Roux competition or not, he is still doing what he wants to do. And maybe next year he can have another go.