A CUMBRIAN chef could be in with the chance of a trip to Japan if he is crowned winner of a professional cooking competition.

Ben Champkin, who works in the renowned L'Enclume kitchen in Cartmel, goes head to head this weekend for the title of Kikkoman Masters Winner 2015.

He was named as one of eight finalists last month (September) after being selected from a host of chefs battling it out for the coveted title and the prize of a seven day working trip to Japan.

Ben, who has worked for Simon Rogan in L’Enclume for a year, said: “I am delighted to be cooking in the Kikkoman Masters Final in October and the trip to Japan would be a lifetime opportunity and assist in my learning."

The chef impressed a judging panel of celebrated names in the catering industry including Michelin-star restaurateur Simon Hulstone, of The Elephant in Torquay, chef Brian Turner CBE, Scott Hallsworth, who now runs the acclaimed Kurobuta and Joe’s Oriental Diner restaurants in London and Stefan Chomka, editor of Restaurant Magazine.

Ben's recipes were Penny Bridge Dexter beef, oysters, soy and sea herbs followed by Cornish monkfish, miso, radish, turnips and hen of the woods.

Also on the judging panel was Kikkoman's UK manager, Bing-yu Lee, who said, “The standard of entries we received was extremely high and testament to the extraordinary level of talent working in our catering outlets up and down the country.

"We were amazed with the creative ways chefs used our soy sauce, serving up inspirational dishes. We had a hard task choosing our eight finalists.”

The Kikkoman Masters final will take place at The Restaurant Show, in London's Olympia on Monday (October 5).