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Chef’s Caribbean cuisine up for culinary ‘Oscar’

TOP CHEF: Caribbean chef Lorenzo Richards

A BIRMINGHAM chef well-known for bringing a taste of the Caribbean to a small Worcestershire town has been shortlisted for a major culinary prize.

Lorenzo Richards, 42, the popular manager of The Wildmoor Oak, a pub and restaurant in Bomsgrove, is one of three finalists in the ‘best ethnic cuisine’ category of the 2013 Craft Guild of Chefs Awards. The inclusion of Richards on the shortlist for the award is being viewed as a well-deserved recognition for his commitment to creating authentic Caribbean cuisine that pleases his customers’ palates.

The annual ceremony unites Britain’s finest chefs and gives recognition to high standards of excellence, with finalists being selected by a panel of highly respected ambassadors from the food industry.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, the awards have grown to become the Oscars of the culinary world, paying tribute to some of the most skilled professionals working in kitchens across the UK.

Born to Jamaican parents, Richards grew up in Birmingham where his first experience of cooking was watching his mother prepare traditional Jamaican dishes. The vibrant colours and enticing aroma inspired a lifelong love of Caribbean cooking.

Following a variety of roles at eateries across the West Midlands and London, Richards, who said his signature dish was ackee and saltfish, seized the chance to run his own restaurant when he took over the reins at The Wildmoor Oak restaurant in 2007.

Since then he has brought an authentic taste of the Caribbean to rural Worcestershire, with monthly Caribbean party nights being a routine sell-out.

Richards will attend a gala dinner at Grosvenor House, in central London on Monday, June 10 when the winner of the ethnic chef category will be announced.

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