A YOUNG chef who issued a "come and get me" plea via The Northern Echo has secured his first job.

David Hall was taken on by Maralena's, in Shildon, an Italian restaurant, after his story was featured as part of the Echos Foundation for Jobs campaign Mr Hall, 19, a Darlington College student who is completing an NVQ Level 3 in hospitality and catering, said: "I am delighted, I didn't think getting a job would happen this quickly to be honest.

"I am going to be working as commis chef and the other chefs in the kitchen are going to help expand my skills.

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"I am really looking forward to working here."

Boss Salvatore Savino said: "One of the regulars pointed out that there was a young lad looking for an opportunity to be taken on.

"As a trial I had him cook my lunch, a sirloin steak, and he did a carbonara for my other half and it was good.

"He has had a bit of a baptism of fire, he came in on a Friday and Saturday on two of our busiest days of the year, but he has responded really well."

Mr Savino has recently employed another chef Patrick Hoey, 29, and said he hoped they would work well together.

He added: "David is enthusiastic and he is going to learn a lot from the experienced members of staff that I have got.

"Hopefully he will become an integral part of the kitchen team."

• The Northern Echos Foundation for Jobs, in association with Darlington Partnership, aims to create at least 100 apprenticeship places and 100 internships at firms in the borough and help a thousands youngsters establish formal links with local companies.