Three Barnstaple chefs have reached the semi-finals of a regional competition.

The semi-finalists and finalists for the South West Chef of the Year competition have been announced, judged by a panel chefs led by Michael Caines MBE.

James Checkley, head chef at Kentisbury Grange is a semi-finalist in the Professional category.

Cole Harris, Commis chef at Custom House, and Billy Pounsett-Smart, chef de partie at Kentisbury Grange, are semi-finalists in Young Professional category.

Mr Caines said: "The South West Chef of the Year competition is back for its 16th year and the array of talent has been exceptional.

"The team of judges have been blown away with the creativity and skills that these chefs have.

"From home cooks to experienced chefs, the South West is full of culinary talent and we can't wait to see who goes on to win the categories and the overall award of South West Chef of the Year 2019.

"Thank you very much to everyone who has entered this year. The competition continues to go from strength to strength with so many outstanding entries and we're looking forward to a thrilling contest in all five categories.

"We can say with confidence that the South West is home to an abundance of culinary talent, both among professional chefs and amateur cooks of all ages."

The South West Chef of the Year competition has five categories: Professional, Young Professional, Home Cook, Junior Chef and Student.

The Professional, Young Professional and Student categories will now enter the semi-final stage, taking place at Exeter College on September 21.

The grand finals will take place on October 22 at Exeter College followed by an awards presentation evening and dinner at Exeter Golf and Country Club.

Tickets are now available for the awards presentation evening on October 22.

The dinner will be prepared by judges and previous winners of the competition. 2019's menu will see Elly Wentworth (head chef at The Angel, Dartmouth), Tim Kendall (head chef at The Idle Rocks, St Mawes) and Michael Nizzero (Executive Chef at The Bath Priory) take over the kitchen. Tickets can be purchased online at www.southwestchef.co.uk at £95 each.