He has worked with Gordon Ramsay and cooked in one of the world's most famous restaurants but Warwickshire chef Ryan Simpson is determined to be the creme de la creme after reaching the final round of the prestigious Roux scholarship competition.
Ryan Simpson is one of six finalists whose culinary skills will be put to the test today when he is judged by some of Britain's top chefs.
Gary Rhodes, David Nicholls, Andrew Fairlie , Brian Turner and members of the prominent Roux family will decide who is to be crowned Roux Scholar 2008 after the finalists have prepared either a classic Escoffier or Roux brothers dish to imitate.
The competition is widely regarded as the most prestigious for promising young chefs aged between 22 and 30 in the UK.
Ryan, 25, from Nuneaton, works as Sous Chef at Winteringham Fields in Lincolnshire and travelled to London yesterday ready for today's cook-off at Westminster Kingsway College.
Before moving to Lincolnshire, Ryan spent just over four years working in France which included time in one of France's best restaurants, La Maison Troisgros.
He has learned from some of the best in the profession and worked as Chef de Partie at Gordon Ramsay's restaurant in Royal Hospital Road for nearly two years.
Ryan said he was overwhelmed by how well he has done in the competition: "It's great and my family is really pleased. I am a confident person generally but I don't want to be too confident."
His aim is to have his own restaurant and was full of praise the restaurants in France: "I would love to go back. No one can beat the cooking there," he said.
The former North Warwickshire College student, whose parents still live in Nuneaton, said he regularly returns to his family home but has got out of being head chef. He said: "They used to make me do the cooking but they don't any more. We tend to go out for meals."
Candidates for the Roux Scholarship were whittled down from around 100 initial entries to just six following the regional finals held earlier this month.
After winning the Northern regional final, Ryan will today be provided with the recipe and ingredients for a main meal about an hour before the cook-off gets underway.
If he is named the 25th Roux Scholar, he will receive £5,000 cash and up to three months training at a three Michelin-starred restaurant.
He would also be treated to a week's work experience in New York and a trip to Milan as well as a set of knives worth £1,000 and of course champagne to toast his success. The winner will be announced at a ceremony in London.