ONE of the North East’s most celebrated chef has been nominated for one of the biggest honours in the culinary world.

James Close, chef-owner of the two Michelin star The Raby Hunt at Summerhouse, near Darlington, has been selected as a candidate in the Best Chef Awards, which are being held in September in Barcelona.

Mr Close is in the running to be included in the Chef TOP100, which celebrates the most skilled chefs worldwide.

And, if successful. he will follow in the footsteps of some of the biggest names in fine dining, such as Joan Roca of Spain’s El Cellar De Can Roca, who has headed up the prestigious list the past two years.

The list includes chefs from across Europe, the USA, South America, Scandinavia, Africa, Australia, Asia, with last year only two British names making it through – Heston Blumenthal and Clare Smyth.

“It’s a huge honour to have been nominated and to be considered among chefs who are indisputably the best in the world,” said Mr Close.

“Many of the people who have been included in previous years are my culinary heroes so to be in with the chance to be listed alongside them is absolutely fantastic.”

The nomination has come at a time when The Raby Hunt is celebrating its tenth anniversary, with a series of special events which includes a classic Sunday lunch on August.

The highlight of the celebrations will be held on Sunday 7 July, when the restaurant joins forces with Champagne Leclerc-Briant for a five-course French-inspired menu.