A 23-year-old chef from Benfleet has been named winner of the Riso Gallo UK & Ireland Young Risotto Chef of the Year 2024.

Nathan Cooper triumphed over 13 finalists in a cook-off at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on June 10.

He was rewarded with an all-expenses-paid, three-day work experience at Michelin-starred Il Luogo Aimo e Nadia in Milan, alongside renowned chef Fabio Pisani.

Mr Cooper created a zero-waste "Waste Knot" carrot and caramelised Miso risotto dish, which incorporated sheep milk labneh, smoked walnuts, carrot top pesto, and shimeji mushroom.

Mr Cooper said: "It feels amazing to win, I have to say, after entering the competition last year and coming second, to come back again and win it.

"I'm so proud to be part of the winners."

The young chef plans to compete in the Young National Chef of the Year final come October.

Judge, Adriano Cavagnini, executive chef at the Bulgari Hotel London, said: "Nathan’s risotto stood out from the competition as it combined a well-cooked risotto which was beautifully presented with great colours using simple combination of ingredients.

"Well done to Nathan who will certainly have a bright future as a chef due to his passion and energy."